Presented by Matthew Thompson, University of Liverpool
This seminar explores Liverpool’s hidden history of collective alternatives to public housing and asks what lessons can be learnt from this history for mainstreaming these movements within and beyond Liverpool as a more directly democratic model of foundational provision. Drawing on his new open access book Reconstructing Public Housing (Liverpool University Press, 2020) Matt Thompson compares the institutional dynamics and development of Liverpool’s 1970s cooperative movement with the community land trusts (CLT) emerging in the 2010s, focusing on the Weller Street Housing Cooperative, the country’s first new-build co-op to be designed, developed, owned and managed by its member-residents, and Granby Four Streets CLT, the first housing or urban regeneration project to be awarded the Turner Prize. Such experiments are argued to be ‘collective housing alternatives’ – that is, non-state though nonetheless public forms of housing; as innovative parts of the foundational economy. The seminar considers the role of the state and ‘the public’ in cooperative and community-led housing, and reflects upon the implications for democratising the foundational economy.