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Hybrid development models

Housing associations and project developers can have a major impact on the innovation of the housing market in the Netherlands if they manage to combine their primary task of building and managing homes with a new way of working. In this new way of working future residents are co-producers and managers of their homes. We believe that it is possible to realise affordable and sustainable social and mid-market rental housing through a hybrid development structure. In this development the  co-production element is essential- a process in which multiple stakeholders are involved, and the future residents are central in the design.

For this reason, together with Jasper Klapwijk from Kantelingen, we conducted a research into housing development in co-production, with support from the Stimuleringsfonds. Co-production of housing is still unexplored territory for many stakeholders. That is why in this study we focused on expanding knowledge of these practices, to accelerate and improve cooperation between developers and corporations on the one hand, and housing cooperatives on the other. Our research is aimed at mapping the playing field and defining the formats that are interesting for housing corporations and project developers to develop further. In addition, the research maps out the ways in which the developers want to collaborate with residents in a co-production process. During the research, we spoke to various housing corporations, project developers, residents' initiatives and experts about the opportunities and obstacles they see when entering into a co-production process, how we can make better use of opportunities and what we need to do to tackle obstacles on the way.

What is co-production?

In co-production of homes, there is an equal relationship between residents and the people responsible for the realisation of the building. With co-production, future residents work together with a professional party throughout the process, from design to delivery, making the boundaries between residents and the developer less clear.

The conceptualization of 'collaborative housing' by Darinka Czischke (2018) clearly shows what we mean by this term. She argues that collaborative housing can be seen as an umbrella term encompassing different forms of housing with different degrees of collective self-organisation. According to her, an important part of this form of housing is that there is cooperation between (future) residents and external parties and/or stakeholders. In her words, cooperation means the coordinated pursuit of a common goal. This collaboration can take place within different phases of the project, during the design, construction and management phase.

We found the ladder of co-production a good tool to analyse the processes of co-production. Created by the National Co-production Advisory Group, this ladder describes a series of steps towards full co-production in healthcare. We believe that these steps can also be applied to residential construction. It provides a better understanding of the different key elements of co-production. It also helps us distinguish between other forms of resident participation and co-production. For example, if residents are only asked to give input about various elements of the development of the homes, we are talking about co-design. Autonomy and ownership in the process is important to distinguish between homes that are developed in co-production and homes that are created with other forms of resident participation.


1. Unknown format with a process that is difficult to standardise
2. Lack of regulation and promotion of the format from local authorities
3. Multitude of stakeholders with different and uncoordinated agendas
4. Unbalanced power dynamics
5. Unclear governance model


1. The inhabitants benefit from professional skills of the developer
2. The developer works directly with the users for a tailor made project
3. Projects result in more sustainable and innovative projects with high quality standards
4. The collective acts as third party that takes care of management and maintenance
5. An active community is beneficial for the neighbourhood and the city

In our research, we developed a number of models with the parties involved and experts to work in co-production within a project. These models are aimed at getting all stakeholders involved in the project at the table. The initiation and definition phases are crucial for a co-productive project, as residents and institutional parties must coordinate properly with regard to finances and ownership, and external assurance must be arranged to safeguard the cooperative values in the project.


We are always interested in getting in touch with new initiatives! If you are an already formed group (or even just a single person curious about housing cooperatives that does not know where to start) we can help you by sharing our experience with different co-production projects, making architectural feasibility studies, connecting you with our network of professional advisors and with the other initiatives we support. If you are a private developer or housing corporation that wants to be part of this change and bridge the gap between you and the users contact us so we can see how we can make housing with a diverse set of stakeholders.