The chicken or the egg dilemma

“By encouraging community members to build their own houses they will not only meet their housing needs but they will develop a capable and motivated team of residents committed to the ecological aims of the project, working and living together in a spirit of community integration”.

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Our mission is to fight shortage of affordable and sustainable housing in urban areas. Therefore we started talking to council about possibilities of  land lease.  This was not  easy  to arrange but eventually we had a chance to talk about our plans, ideas, visions with council officers.

First impression was that Manchester City Council mostly deals with very few, large housing associations. Traditional council- community co relation  means that people  are passive  beneficiaries of council’s and housing associations’ projects. In traditional way of public services provision there is no need to take into account community’s environmental and social strengths as things are delivered  to  compensate some problems. Our approach, the  community led housing project simply turns this traditional “top down”  approach upside down.  Still there aren’t  many guidelines in place on how to co-operate with community when all they want is to tackle problem with their own hands, using community strengths and assets.  We want people to become involved, to be part of a solution, and we want them to drive development.  People’s direct experience should be taken into account- it will provide better insight into real needs.  Treating them as partners will build bridges and trust. In long term those can not be overestimated.

 

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Stephen (MCC), Joanna(Hay Habitat) and Mandy (imagine).

To move forward we need to write formal proposal including business plan and submit it to the council. Council can not give us list of grounds available so we will have to imagine it first.

 

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