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The Governance Capacity of Cooperative Housing: The Role of 'Linking Social Capital' (CooperativeCapital)
Start date: Jan 19, 2015, End date: Jan 18, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Cooperative initiatives in the field of housing are considered increasingly important for fostering social cohesion in European city regions. Nevertheless, the debates on the potential of third sector housing in different EU member states are currently only weakly connected. It is therefore crucial to inform these debates with timely academic research that is accessible to policy makers and practitioners in Europe.Against this background, the principal aim of the proposed project is to investigate how different governance models of housing cooperatives influence the creation of 'linking social capital'. Applying qualitative, case-study oriented research, a comparative study between the Vienna city region and the West Midlands region in England will derive conclusions on the design of governance institutions in cooperative housing which foster linkages between residents, housing managers and people in positions of influence and power in the external institutional environment.Given the high expectations of policy makers and academics towards third sector housing, the project provides a more realistic picture of cooperative housing governance and its capacity for influencing cohesive urban development through community empowerment. The proposed project is highly relevant for the European Research Area because it deepens the inter-European dialogue on the role of third sector housing for social cohesion. Furthermore, it aims at achieving a better mutual understanding between different regional schools of thought within Europe.The fellowship will also enhance the academic career prospects of the experienced researcher through advanced training in qualitative organisational research methodology and in European housing policy. The two years intensive training in a high quality academic environment will guarantee a standard to secure publication in the highest ranking English language peer review journals and should lead to a permanent faculty position.

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