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Co-operative housing : a study of user satisfaction Davidson, Jill

Abstract

The purpose of this thesis is to evaluate the satisfaction which co-operative housing members experience during the process of obtaining and living in their dwellings. With the recent surge of growth of housing co-operatives in British Columbia, an evaluation of this form of tenure seems timely. Traditionally evaluation studies have assessed a program or agency by relying on the input of the administrators. Although several government studies have investigated co-operative housing, little work has been completed which assesses this type of tenure from the user point of view. A distinctive characteristic of co-operative housing is the opportunity for the members to be totally involved in the planning and management of the project. This study therefore evaluates co-operative housing by investigating the satisfaction which users derive from their living environment. Members of co-operatives in the Greater Vancouver Regional District whose projects were completed or in the planning stages were personally interviewed and factors relating to satisfaction were discussed. From this survey, it became clear that the majority of people are very satisfied with their housing and the process they experienced to obtain it. In the case of completed projects, satisfaction was strongly linked with co-operators' perceptions of a strong sense of community, attendance at recent co-operative housing meetings, understanding of co-operative ownership, the kind's of-expectations of co-operative living which members have, and previous co-operative experience. For members of projects in the planning stages satisfaction was linked with understanding of co-operative ownership, ability to contact the co-operative's Board of Directors and desire to join other co-operative activities. Recommendations for improving or influencing those factors which are related to satisfaction are suggested. Two major issues emerged that relate to the co-operative housing movement in general. These are: user participation in the planning and management of the project, and member education. It is suggested that by enlarging and improving the education program the financial and social responsibilities of co-operative housing will be better understood and more people will take advantage of the opportunity to participate.

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