The housing problem in Hong Kong is serious, and public housing cannot keep up with the demand. Although the grand plans such as finding land and building land are encouraging, it is a pity that while the grass grows the horse starves. Cooperative housing (CoHousing), a residential concept that has a history of decades in Europe, and could be use to fill the shortage of public housing. In recent years, cooperative housing projects have begun to appear in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and other places. Although the neighboring culture and degree of urbanization in the East are different from the West, this concept is gradually gaining momentum in the west, and it is worth Hong Kong's attention.
First of all, cooperative housing is not the same thing as Co-Living, which has entered the public eye in recent years. Co-Living generally refers to being operated by the private market, acting as a second landlord, managing rental houses, and some shared spaces, such as kitchens and laundry rooms. It is a business model of Real Estate as a service.
Cooperative housing originated from the housing problem in Europe after the war. It is especially popular in the Nordic countries and Germany, Netherlands, and Belgium. It refers to a cooperative or a company, composed of a group of people with common living needs, by acquiring residential projects and setting them as collective ownership. The implementation has the elements of self-organization, sustainability, and community leadership.
Cooperative housing is jointly funded by the members, participating in the construction, management, and operation, to create a residential and community environment that meets the needs of members, and saves energy and other resources through ecological buildings and sharing mechanisms. These programs can generally bring different generations closer, develop an inclusive and attractive living environment and quality of life, and create affordable living costs.
To realize cooperative housing, property rights are the key. The typical mainstream value of the Chinese society is to have ownership of the self-occupied real estate and look forward to asset appreciation. However, in the case of high property prices in large cities, many people are suffering from heavy mortgage burden, and it is common to sacrifice the quality of life for the ownership of the real estate. On the contrary, the cooperative housing model is to learn how to abandon the ownership of real estate for the quality of life.
The concept of co-ownership of cooperative housing is a bit utopian, and it seems out of reach to implement it in Hong Kong. Cooperative housing requires a series of cooperation such as property rights jurisprudence, cooperative-related regulations, and land development clauses to succeed. It is recommended to refer to the practices of neighboring Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, and there could be some inspirations.