Our project aims to generate knowledge on regulatory reform, strategic planning, and financial tools to support the development of affordable co-housing in Canada, focusing on Montréal. To do so, this research will: (1) Document the implementation of emblematic co-housing projects (identification of stakeholders, issues and motivations of citizens, project development costs, direct and indirect socio-economic impacts, optimal participation processes and collaboration among residents throughout a specific project, logistical, regulatory and legal obstacles, etc.); (2) Complete comparative research on strategic approaches to cohousing internationally vis-à-vis the work now being done by Village Urbain; (3) Take stock of financial tools and barriers preventing affordable co-housing models from being scaled-up and reproduced (institutional capacity, regulations, financial resources, liabilities, etc).
These areas of research will be developed through four steps: process, proxies, a current pilot project, and insights for practice. We will first document participatory processes in co-housing through case studies and interviews to define a made-in-Montréal approach for making co-housing possible through synergies among different actors and institutions. Our proxies are other contexts in Canada and abroad that will be investigated to develop a learning platform for 'scaling up'. Lessons and methods will be brought to bear on an ongoing pilot project undertaken by Village Urbain to develop the first affordable co-housing initiative in Québec (on a site to be determined). Finally, we will document and share insights for practice based on our analyses in terms of how current institutional realities thwart participatory co-housing developments, both in Montréal and across Canada.