In return, you have to cook for them and share your car, bicycle, lawnmower with them. These are the most basic rules of the first Hungarian cohousing community, the CollAction, and they would like to find a place and some investors to realise their dream.
According to hvg, the community finished their plans for the first Hungarian cohousing project during the coronavirus epidemic. Now, they are going to search for investors and local government which can help realise what they have in mind. Annamária Babos, an architect and one of the founders of CollAction, said that forming such a community requires time; based on international experiences, it needs 3 to 8 years. However, she thinks that because of the skyrocketing real estate prices, members of the middle class will turn to this new form of housing in the future.
Until now, they have been working on finding future owners of the future flat, and they laid down the rules of the new community. Now, they are trying to find a place where they can build their community and some investors who can provide money for their social experiment. Cohousing is less than a commune but more than a flat. The people living there can choose their neighbours, and after that, they decide and use everything together in the house. For example,
they share cars, bicycles, lawnmowers, etc. to reduce their ecological footprint.
They have to put together the money for anything new, for example, a rain barrel or solar cell which can also contribute to the sustainability of the flat.
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In Denmark, the experiment was successful in the 1960s. There, for example, mothers with small children and homeless people moved to the country in similar new communities. Afterwards, thanks to the increasing real estate prices in the big cities of Europe, people living there also opened up to such projects. Therefore,
cohousing flats were built in Copenhagen, Berlin, Zürich, and Vienna.
The 2008 financial crisis made such projects even more attractive. For example, the website of Berlin lists 300 cohousing projects today. The pattern for the Hungarian CollAction was the Wohnprojekt in Vienna which started 6 years ago.
Of course, people’s motivation in the project is very different. Some of them decided to join for purely philosophical purposes, mothers with small children are fed up with their not helpful neighbours, some of them would like to find their “new family”, while some university students joined because they took part in a course at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics.
The main aim of the project is to provide a place to live in big cities for everybody who accepts the rules and who decide not only to develop their community but also their neighbourhood.
They plan to have public spaces and a library, rooms for guests, and they plan to share their kitchen.
Since they do not have the necessary financial background to build the flat, they are now trying to find investors. They already have a place in the 4th district where they would like to move, and they are already in contact with the Budapest city council. Furthermore, they told hvg that the coronavirus epidemic did not puzzle anybody. Instead, many think in their community that the previous months would have been better in a cohousing community.