Open Co-operatives

by Chris Dornan on August 14, 2008

The discussion around the recent CCH conference reminded me that while co-operative housing is a much better way of delivering housing, with a powerful potential for regenerating and nurturing communities, it has some obvious challenges around governance.  Clearly housing run by full-time professionals will present a lower profile to the authorities than housing managed by tenants, bureaucracies being more comfortable with other bureaucracies than an  individual grass-roots, democratic operation like a housing co-operative.

But can housing co-operatives make better use of their democratic grass-roots principles?  Why not use the internet to open up the books to our members?  Indeed why not open them up to everyone?  This is something that may be better built into co-operatives from the startit could be difficult to do with a running co-operative, at least until its benefits can be seen to work in new co-operatives.

Might this kind of transparency help build confidence in co-operative housing as a better way of providing housing.

I have gotten everyone’s agreement at Monkey Puzzle to make the treasury area of the co-operative’s intranet freely accessible.  Check out the books.  (I am writing a series of articles explaining the double entry method I am using to maintain the books.)

Is this generally workable?  Is it desirable?  What do you think?

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