Workshop: International Financing of Young Housing Cooperatives in Central and Eastern Europe

When: 7 and 8 December 2023. Where: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Thaer Institute. Organisers: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, IWO Housing Initiative Eastern Europe, MOBA Housing SCE, LiM Living in Metropolises SCE, University of Jena

Housing markets in Central and (South) Eastern Europe (CEE) are characterised by an exceptionally high proportion of homeownership, low renovation rates, and a shortage of affordable rental and social housing. Younger generations suffer most from these tight housing market conditions. In response, new cooperative housing initiatives have been emerging over the past 15 years. One transnational example is MOBA Housing SCE, a young network of cooperative pioneers from Croatia, Czechia, Hungary, Serbia and Slovenia. The objective of MOBA SCE is to join forces to implement new housing cooperatives and to develop transnational financing instruments for new cooperative housing providers in CEE. LiM Living in Metropolises SCE is a second recently founded European housing cooperative that aims to strengthen the idea and practice of the cooperative legal form, which is part of UNESCO’s intangible world heritage, and to implement it with forward-looking projects. For almost 150 years, housing cooperatives have stood for self-help, self-determination and self-responsibility and have become pioneers in housing reform.

The main objective of this workshop is to kick off new networks and collaborations to support the institutional build-up of MOBA SCE and LiM SCE, as well as other emerging housing cooperatives in CEE. To do so, the event will give insights on current tendencies of housing cooperatives. Together with representatives of housing cooperatives, foundations, NGOs, practitioners related to housing and real estate, municipalities, ministries, and EU entities, among others, we will identify financing models and partnerships to support young housing cooperatives in the region. In particular, we will build on cooperation experiences between Germany and CEE, select good practices and funding programme approaches at European level regarding financing housing in CEE and discuss cooperation opportunities and international (financing) strategies. In the long run, we would wish to sensitise for a European idea of Housing Cooperatives.


Thursday, 7 December 2023

MORNING PROGRAM: Housing initiatives in Central and Eastern Europe and experiences from German speaking countries to support emerging housing cooperatives

Session 1: Housing challenges in Central and Eastern Europe, and cooperative housing initiatives in this context (presentations and discussion). With: Dr. Corinna Hölzl (HU Berlin) and Max Hellriegel (Universität Jena), Iva Marčetić (Universität Kassel), Knut Hoeller (IWO e.V), Dirk Lönnecker (LiM – Living in Metropolis SCE), Ana Džokić and Marc Neelen (MOBA Housing SCE).

Session 2: International cooperation for overcoming financial bottlenecks of housing cooperatives in CEE (moderation: Zsuzsanna Pósfai, Bea Varnai, both MOBA SCE).

Roundtable conversation 1: Existing experiences. With: Helmut Geißler and Claudia Spiller (Stiftung Umverteilen), Elena Milanovska (Habitat for Humanity International), Alice Pittini (Housing Europe), Giorgos Melissourgos (Heinrich-Böll Foundation).

Roundtable conversation 2: Future plans and ideas. With: Goran Jeras (Cooperative for Ethical Financing, ECHOES), Rolf Novy-Huy (Ko-Operativ eG NRW, formerly Foundation Trias), Peter Kämmerling (Mietshäuser Syndikat /Commoning Spaces Network).

AFTERNOON PROGRAM: The various elements of a mature and enabling ecosystem for housing cooperatives

Session 3: The cooperative housing landscape in Germany – diversity, challenges and achievements (moderation: Corinna Hölzl, HU Berlin). With: Guido Schwarzendahl (Bauverein Halle & Leuna eG and Cooperative Housing International, CHI), Caroline Rosenthal (Forum for Cooperatives Berlin and Mietshäuser Syndikat), Elke Rauth (Bikes and Rails Vienna/habiTAT Austria), Jens-Uwe Köhler (Studentendorf Schlachtensee and Bündnis Junge Genossenschaften Berlin)

Session 4: The role of public actors in promoting cooperative housing development (moderation: Caroline Rosenthal, Forum for Cooperatives, Berlin). With: Nicola Müller (Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Construction) tbc, Heike Skok (City of Munich / Mitbauzentrale), Melanie Kloth (NRW.Bank Wohnraumförderung), Arnt v. Bodelschwingh (RegioKontext GmbH).

Session 5: Supporting cooperative development – through financing and cooperative infrastructure (moderation: Ana Džokić, MOBA SCE). With (online): Ulrich Kriese (Edith Maryon Foundation), Antonia Proka (, Ela Kagel (Platform cooperatives Germany), tbc. In person: Michael LaFond (id22).

Friday, 8 December 2023

Session 6: Scaling up LiM, MOBA and other new housing cooperatives in CEE (moderation: MOBA SCE representatives). World Café: Based on discussions and findings from Workshop Day 1. This key session will focus on: how to bring together common goals and ambitions in the next three years and direct and indirect ways of supporting new housing coops in CEE.

Session 7: Ukraine: What role could Housing Cooperatives play for Recovery (hybrid). With: Knut Höller (IWO), FLÜWO Bauen Wohnen eG, tbc, Serhii Komnatnyj (UNECE consultant, Chairman of the State fund for Youth housing).