What do we mean when we say “collective process for a housing project”?
We propose the term “collective process for a housing project” to encompass all cases and production processes of collective housing in which the inhabitants have taken an active role. This active role can be summarized under differing degrees of participation and power to make important decisions throughout the process.
We think that this participation can occur in three major stages of the process (one in particular or in the ideal case, in the 3):
- In the organization phase (promotion, program definition, financing, site selection etc. ..)
- In the Realization phase (design and construction of housing)
- In the phase of Use and lifetime (the most important and usually neglected by the technicians)
A “collective process for a housing project” is a process that one does not follow alone, but hand in hand with a group of people and families who have common wishes and needs as far as acquiring a home that better fits their demands and means. In this kind of process, each family is not only concerned about their own interests, but also takes into consideration those of the rest of the group in order to succeed in consensus building and make common decisions.
This is why, under the current circumstances in which acquiring a home is becoming ever more difficult, it is important that we agree on our needs in order to establish what we can share. This way we can make the most of what we have got and it will be easier to lean on each other, sharing efforts and resources, to achieve a house with larger and better spaces, facilities and finishings, something that as individuals would be more difficult to accomplish.
On the other hand, this is not only a way of sharing the material results of the process, but a way of building a community and emotional ties, of learning how to coexist and enhancing our capability to resolve conflicts. While also, as time goes by, allowing our house to adapt better to our ever changing needs, while using fewer resources to do so.
To become involved in a collective process is slower than individual incursions into the housing market, but if we are capable of organising ourselves as a group, we can achieve a home that is more affordable and better adapted to our needs. We can also have access to more services and more spaces if these are shared.