Progress Report on research project – Sufficiency in Housing: Exploring sustainability-oriented living arrangements

James Scott Vandeventer & Benedikt Schmid

Steady State Manchester collective member James Scott Vandeventer, together with Benedikt Schmid, undertook research into how sufficiency manifests in community-led housing in two German cities. The research, funded by the University of Huddersfield, involved visits to several communities in Freiburg and Heidelberg during the summer of 2022. Interviews were also conducted with residents and members of what we call ‘infrastructural organisations,’ which support the development and maintenance of community-led housing initiatives.

Thus far, the research has uncovered a wide array of sufficiency-oriented practices occurring in these housing initiatives. Particularly interesting are the multiple legal forms used by different groups, including ‘infrastructural organisations’, and the latter’s diverse orientations, concerns, and narratives.

Findings to date from the research have been compiled in a summary report, available here.

The research help us understand how practices of sufficiency emerge in housing, and the ways legal forms are mobilised to mediate relationship-to-profit of (post-)growth organizations (Schmid, 2018; Hinton, 2020) in housing contexts. These and other insights from the research will surely be useful for organisations in Manchester working towards a viable economy and society and for helping counter the growth-driven and developer-fueled housing market in the city-region.

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