Article of REAS, September 14, 2020 by Iñaki Alonso para Revista Ecohabitar

The future is not written and housing is not only what the real estate market offers us. There are other options, even if they seem hidden to the naked eye. But where can we begin to explore these possibilities?

It is resilience that makes possible a crack through which to escape from determinism. It is a hymn to the freedom to imagine that things can be different and that, only if they are dreamed, can they become reality. It is through this crack of the established that cohousing projects have sprung up, such as the La Borda, Trabensol or Entrepatios housing cooperatives, among others, which are germinating. These are collaborative housing cooperatives with a right-to-use model, which is not traditional renting or individual ownership.

In addressing resilience in housing, we frame the concept in two dimensions. The first, mentioned at the beginning, is a regenerative metaphor that offers possible futures on how to live in the face of the inertia that drags us towards established logics.
Doing the opposite requires an exercise in resilience and perseverance, understanding it as a process – a collective process – and not just as an immediate response to adversity. It involves the effort of swimming against the tide: from making a building that works in collective ownership and, therefore, with a collective guarantee for credit, to registering the statutes in the right to use them in the corresponding institutions and without horizontal division. But not only that, it is also a commitment to ecological architecture: with parking for sustainable mobility, with more bicycles than cars, building in wood (with the implication of fighting with insurance companies) or designing buildings that do not emit CO2, produce energy and recycle their grey water (the latter, when the regulations allow it).

Resilience is in people, but it multiplies exponentially in organisations and groups. This is the value of cohousing as opposed to a disconnected community of neighbours, conceived as a storehouse of individualities.

Housing is no longer a housing machine, it is a living organism.