One of the issues that Who Builds the City started to address in 2012 was the lack of affordable housing for a large majority of the people. For most people facing a need for living space, there are no affordable options available, thus forcing people into unrealistic long-term debts, economic and social enslavement, poverty, and gender-based dependence. As there is no initiative in Serbia which publicly develops or promotes an alternative (affordable, accessible, long-term economically sustainable) model of housing, in December 2012 we have launched the initiative Smarter Building through a public call to anyone interested in collectively rethinking models for housing development that would be feasible for those who cannot satisfy their need for living space under the existing societal and market conditions.
Our ambition is to develop and test such a model in a pilot project, through which a group of people could jointly plan, invest and build, and thus be able to control its basic principles, construction and its cost. The working table organized in December was just a kick-off of a planned series of events that will constitute the major part of Who Builds the City activities in 2013. On the first event, we covered tradition and practice of self-construction, experiences of existing housing cooperatives in Serbia, as well as possible models of legal association and decision-making of such group.
During the first half of 2013, we organized working tables which covered further vital topics for such an undertaking: beyond property and profit, the relation between individual and collective interest, the equality of participants facing unequal capacities for financial investment or differing professional capabilities and ultimately the search for possible locations and the hereby related regulations. In this period it was formed one group of people who want to engage into solving individual and collective housing needs through putting the developed model into practice.
Below listed links can give you more information on the whole project and its results.