Author:Laura Gozzer (Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich)
Paper short abstract:
Instead of understanding housing cooperatives as exclusive models of self-help for privileged members of urban middle-classes, the paper highlights various motivations, hopes and practices that accompany processes of initiating and moving in housing cooperatives, so-called Genossenschaften, in Munich.
Paper long abstract:
Munich is considered to be a city where housing has always been expensive. During the last decade an increasing lack of flats combined with the rapid financialisation of housing have led to diverse practices of coping. The municipality presents new built residential areas on former military barracks as socially and ecologically responsible and fair solutions to ease housing shortage. Parts of these public areas are reserved for housing cooperatives, so-called Genossenschaften.
With support from municipalities, on the one hand Genossenschaften are being presented as promising models of a different way of city development by using the dominant key words community, sustainability and social mixture. On the other hand, various members of middle income groups perceive living in Genossenschaften as the only way out of insecure tenancies. Taking into account the expected rise of rents in the future, to move in or to initiate Genossenschaften can be part of a rather rational decision and compromise depending on one's own financial possibilities.
Drawing on qualitative interviews and participant observations, the paper focuses on practices and imaginations associated with processes of initiating or moving in Genossenschaften. What future visions for Munich, what biographical needs and hopes are constitutive in these decisions? Using a praxeological approach I will focus on practices of decision-making, counting, applying and moving as modes of responsibilization regarding the increased financialization of housing (Heeg 2015).
The vulnerable middle class? Strategies of housing in a prospering city