Cooper’actif : Living Together, Another Tomorrow

Project acronyme  :    COOPER’ACTIF

« an invite to travel, an incitation to dream and an inspiration to act » : borrowing (with their permission) to two young urban planners the highlight of their publication « moving habitat, a journey to meet popular housing in south america », the project presents itself in its objectives and in its method as:

*having young people travel and exchange across europe, to meet alternative forms of cooperative housing in order to prepare them to become citizens involved in their housing.

*Maintaining a logbook to capitalize and disseminate, in a website and a toolbox, the achievements of the collective explorations.

WHO

7 partners from 5 different countries have started to work for two years, from September 2018  until August 2020, to carry out this project, which includes ten “student mobility” trips and seven  “intellectual products”. This aims to meet two intentions:

– To log into educational content reference frames these new forms of housing, and the values they convey: sharing, co-production, ecology, home and listen to others, learning and experimentation of doing and living together

– To offer to the youth involved in the project the chance to become ambassadors for the promotion of cooperative housing.

The 5 countries participating in the project are Germany, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Poland.

The 7 partners include 4 schools : a university in the Netherlands – The Technical University of Eindhoven ; two secondary institutions in France, both located in Hyères, in the department of Var – the polyvalent high school of Costebelle LOP (with an applied art class) and the CFPPA, training center for adult learners ; and finally, in Poland, the vocational school ZSE, through a language class and learning of English.

In addition, 3 other structures are involved : a cultural institute in Germany, The Franco-German Cultural Institute in Tübingen, and two popular education associations invested in the Social and Solidarity Economy and the subject of the Cooperative Habitat, Association ASBL Habitat-Participation in Belgium, and the association MALTAE (Memory to Read, Territory to Listen), based in France and coordinator of the project.   

Since the application, a number of partners have agreed to be involved in this project they shared values and goals with, such as the city of Strasbourg which has received a study tour delegation of partners; such as the Architecture Faculty LOCI-Brussels, Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve, who co organizes with the belgian partner on Friday, March 29, 2019 in Brussels the first event dedicated to the topic of young people’s habitat in Europe; such as the House of Architecture and the City of Marseille and Ecohabitons83 association, which co-produce the two forums organized in France; and such as the association “Crossing Birds”, an european platform who joined the dynamics of cultural itinaries …  

WHAT and WHY

The proposed project is cross-sectoral and meets the horizontal priorities of social inclusion and two priorities of school education, such as recommended by Europe: strengthening  profiles of careers in teaching and promote the acquisition of skills and competencies.

In France, the Netherlands and Germany, the cooperative housing starts in recent years, to be perceived as a third way between the rental and home ownership, among individual and collective housing. To acquire a basic culture on the living topic is essential to the future well functioning of a habitat citizen co-production and the quality of its inhabited.

The questions to ask are: How to unfold the complexity of this declination Home / Living / live? How to support these changes? How can young people today, future residents and policymakers, become full participants in their homes? What do we learn from this half-century experiences of participatory housing and social innovation? The values of conviviality, social ties, participation, solidarity, acceptance of others and sharing are the heart of educational issues related to the topic. What messages should be transmitted and what learnings should be developped at school in order to prepare young Europeans to be tomorrow cooper’actors of their living?  

Three contents are to explore to deepen and broaden European-wide the action research on which MALTAE worked the last four years in a regional project (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur) called “Improved cooperation to another inhabited” then “To live is also to feed”, following three axes:   

– The revival of the cooperative relationship: to do and to live together,   

– The demographic aging issue : the intergenerational and the development of an alternative to traditional private and public sector nursing homes as a response to our aging societies,

– The revival of the garden relationship: the rise of community gardens, the stakes of food security in cities, the reconnection to nature and to the soil, beyond the issue of land, the new relationship between habitat and agriculture.

HOW

The project is innovative in its content and in its method:

Its originality is to bring together highly diverse audiences, from institutions of secondary and higher education, lifelong training centers for adults and supervised trainees, engineer students future members of the intellectual elite in their country, public in academic failure or handicap situation, with actors of participatory habitat, professionals and people engaged in a process of professionalisation. The chosen bias is to take the common thread of the young people view on its dreamed housing and on real housing in society in order to project on tomorrow housing in the context of the stated changes. 

The project is also innovative in its approach, such as for example, that of promoting exchanges with high school students and university students of Mata (University of Eindhoven), future professionals urban architects, who in the project get in position of professionals, preparing and mentoring travels for high school students. The ten planned travels of the project will allow the students to leave their classrooms and open them to read their own territory and that of other countries, allowing them this way to revisit their own habitat and lifestyle by confronting it with that of others. Those travels will prepare students wanting to go to work or study abroad to adapt to different ways of living and co-act to improve themselves. On the future young professional side, workshops and exchanges with high school students will offer master students, from the Dutch consensus culture, the opportunity of a tutoring situation by letting them discover and acquire a co-production experience.

The project addresses an audience mainly young but varied and also for adults. Students and future inhabitants, more or less integrated, actors of their housing, future professional of the city and habitat production and future decision makers are the main recipients, european citizens of tomorrow, who should participate in democratic life .

The productions included in the project are:

– Awareness workshops to the inhabited ; preparedness workshops for the ten trips and sites visits of students and apprentices involved in the project ; restitution and cocreativity workshops post-travels and aimed to feed the projects of the institutions involved in the project.

– An action-research survey on “the inhabited of the Youths” in Europe.

– A movie called «Back to Site” intented to capitalize and reactivate the good practices of grouped habitat experiences during the years 1970-1980 and evaluate them with a half century retrospect.

– A photographic order to a writer-artist, designed to cross the youth perspective with the photographer lens, will serve as an image bank to feed the production of the project. This photographic order will result in a photographic exhibition, which will be presented as a pedagogical tool of the project.

– A material library on participatory housing in Europe and a toolbox that will return, for the project extension and its reproducibility, all the learning activities of the project, in the form of educational activities proposals.

– A website (and a facebook page) will serve as internal and external communication of the project and will play on two stages of the project showcase after its end, to be both an archive site and a  tool site for the project extension, for the capitalization, dissemination and portability of its acquirements.

Finally, the last action will throw the foundations of what could join the network of european cultural routes on participatory housing, with the development of virtual routes and cultural or training travels.

The five dissemination events planned for the project will be welcomed in Brussels, Belgium, on March 29, 2019, in Eindehoven, the Netherlands on November 2019, in Tübingen, Germany, on May 2020 and twice in the PACA region, France, Marseille, Hyères-Toulon-La Seyne, on May 2019 and July 2020. They will partly fall, for the years 2019 and 2020 within the dynamics of “Open Doors European Days” of participatory housing.

Students travel from one country to another, to Belgium from the 26th to the 29th of March 2019 and then to the Netherlands in the first week of November and finally, in France in June 2019 and in Germany in May 2020.

Beyond the students, the project adresses all housing actors and the whole society for which the participants will be ambassadors of the new knowledge and experiences on participatory habitat.

Follow the updates on the project on  : https://www.facebook.com/Cooperactif/