Coop wave of the future.

Finding affordable housing can pose problems for some families, especially in urban areas, but the cities of San Francisco, Boulder, and Denver think that they may have a solution.

San Francisco with its expensive rental rates and premium housing has looked to its empty spaces and existing structures to provide an answer. 

Students working with the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association have designed dwellings using the spaces between buildings and structures and even the top of some current structures to create extra housing for its citizens.   

According to, San Francisco projects that it will need about 100,000 housing units to meet the city’s needs.  Designing and building structures within different neighborhoods would bring diversity and, possibly, new businesses. Many of these new housing units would become cooperatives.

Boulder, another city with rising housing prices, is also evaluating its options to ensure that people without a high income can live within the city limits.  One solution the city council has looked at is cooperatives.  Like San Francisco, the city has looked to existing structures to solve their affordable housing crisis.

By turning these existing buildings into
co-ops, the city thinks that it can conserve resources, such as water and electricity, and stabilize areas with high rental turnover in articles cited by the Boulder Daily Camera and 5280.

The city of Denver has also seen its share of high demand and high prices for housing.  It too has looked to cooperatives as a solution.  Because Colorado has maximum occupancy laws, establishing a co-op  in a single home can be difficult.

Advocates for cooperatives are working with the state government to change these occupancy laws to address Colorado’s housing concerns for cities with burgeoning populations and expensive housing costs.