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Dick Urban Vestbro
Kollektivhus NU shakes up Stockholm's traditional housing ideas. Dick Urban Vestbro, who will be speaking at the Experimentdays 10: International Conference, tells us about it.
What is the housing situation like in Stockholm right now?
The situation in general is much worse than it used to be because of a gradual abandonment of the previously existing rent regulation system, which ensured that market rental prices don’t exceed those of non-profit public housing stock. As a result, it is estimated that housing costs in attractive locations might increase by 10 percent a year for several years to come.
How much affordable housing is there in Stockholm?
Contrary to other European cities, there are no “slums” here, which means that there isn’t any housing that’s cheap because of low standards. The problem is that about 300,000 people are currently waiting for housing.
How does Kollektivhus fit into that picture?
Cooperatives have a very small share of the housing market in Sweden: less than one in 2,000 people live in a cohousing community, which represents only 0.05 percent of the housing stock. So, we try to stimulate the debate about new types of housing, based on shared spaces and common facilities. So far, there are about 60 cohousing units in Sweden, and about 40 of them are members of our organisation.
What is cohousing all about?
The idea is to foster a moderate, everyday sense of community. Perhaps an increased sense of security, because you know your neighbours; you know who to turn to if you have problems, or who to ask to water your flowers when you’re away. You can also save time. In my own cohousing [Tullstugan, photo], we make dinner two times every five weeks. So all the other days, you just come home to a set table and don’t have to think about cooking, shopping or anything. I think that’s quite important for many people, especially young families or single parents. Also, cohousing arrangements can afford facilities that are very expensive to individuals, like saunas, computers, printers and so on.
Average apartment purchase price/sqm in the city centre €5041
Average monthly disposable income (after tax) €1842
Average rent for a one-bedroom in the centre €509/month