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Housing Works

Project Name Project: Coin Street Community Builders
Challenge: Housing in downtown London is so expensive that long-time residents and public servants can't afford to live there.
Solution: A housing cooperative set up as a development trust by local residents that sustains itself through business ventures.

As a low-income resident of London it is possible to enjoy both affordable housing and live only minutes away from top sights — if you belong to an innovative housing co-op owned by Coin Street Community Builders (CSCB). CSCB grew out of a local effort to preserve housing for people of moderate incomes in the Coin Street area of London's 'South Bank,' situated on a bend in the River Thames. In 1977, a developer announced his intention to build the world's largest hotel and massive office buildings there, thus displacing the area's long-time residents. A group that would later become CSCB formed to offer an alternative to wanton commercial development — plan that featured affordable housing, revitalized river parks and managed commercial development.

Now, 30 years later, CSCB has transformed the South Bank into a neighborhood with four housing cooperatives reserved for people in need of affordable housing or people who perform vital jobs like teaching, nursing or public transportation. The group uses profits from its commercial activities — including a restaurant — to subsidize new ventures that otherwise would not be viable. As a result, besides living near sites like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, residents can look forward to a neighborhood public swimming pool, indoor sports center and childcare center, all in the works. The CSCB model offers many lessons to American cities about how to develop affordable living while still preserving the local character of a neighborhood.

Watch "Housing Works", NOW's program on Coin Street Community Builders

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Video: Housing Works

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