[This Prezi presentation was created to explain what a limited equity cooperative is to a newly formed cooperative in Columbia Heights in Washington DC.]
The United Nations has declared the year 2012 as the . Cooperative ownership is an alternative form of ownership to the traditional American idea, as it divests governing authority from a single owner to a group of individuals who collectively own and manage the property.
In the traditional home ownership model, the homeowner is completely responsible for the mortgage and the upkeep of the property. In the cooperative model, the individual homeowner is replaced by a corporation, which distributes a “share” of the corporation to each resident. The total value of the property is divided by the number of shareholders, establishing the price of each cooperative share. Each shareholder is given a vote in the governance of the property.
There are a variety of types of housing cooperatives, ranging from the affordable to the exclusive. Nonetheless, the underlying principle behind the concept is to allow members to determine for themselves their living conditions. What we call “home” influences our health and perception of the world, therefore the more control we have over it, the better our lives can be.
The issue of the deterioration of the sense of community in American society has been pointed out in the book , and is a core issue in improving the country’s standard of living. Cooperative home ownership helps build “social capital” by changing the relationship of “neighbors” from a loose network of independent people we live next to, to an interdependent network of individuals working to improve their living conditions.
As cooperative ownership becomes more well-known and implemented in different contexts throughout the world, the idea of member-controlled structures will evolve and help create a world that complements the interconnectedness of our existence.