There’s a revolution happening right under our noses.  Across the country, people and communities are making their own housing and neighbourhood solutions, making sustainable and lasting homes, building resilient and confident local communities, developing skills they never knew they had.

1,001 co-operative and community-led homes: the housing revolution starts here is a directory of recent co-operative and community-led housing schemes in England and Wales.  It’s an impressive and very diverse list.  What it shows us is that there’s more going on than we thought.  We have featured some 1,001 new homes in this directory (it’s actually more than 1,001, but who’d stand in the way of a snappy title).  There are more than the ones we have featured.  And many more have existed since the 1970s and 1980s.  It’s a rich, long standing and successful part of the UK housing sector.

But it’s not enough.  We need every possible way to build new homes.  That includes making use of the vision and imagination of people to make their own housing solutions.  In Berlin, 5,000 homes – 15% of their new housing provision – is now being built every year by baugruppen – Germany’s community housing movement – led by local communities shaping their own homes and destinies with help from supportive local councils.

This scale is possible in the UK. The diversity of what is being developed shows us the way.  The beauty of co‑operative and community led housing is that it’s about local people working out what they want to do and making it happen in their way.  It might be drawing from what others have done before or it might be inventing a whole new approach.  What is clear from this directory is that no two developments are the same!

The details of how schemes were developed – where they got their funding, who they worked with, who lives in them and how they live there are all important.  Some are for people to rent, some for lease, some for sale and some in between.  Some were initiated by grass roots communities – others by local Councils, housing associations or others.  Most involved partnerships – some didn’t.  Some were developed by people intending to live in the homes; others by communities so that people can be housed in their community.  Some are urban – some rural.  Some received grant funding – some didn’t.

But these details are insignificant alongside the lasting legacy of community that resulted in these homes being built.  The provision and management of homes is the backdrop to the formation or further development of local communities.

Communities where people gain support from each other, do things collectively, build community confidence, establishing communities that will treasure and steward through generations.

This is the housing revolution.  

Go to it!