Nearly half of all shared cooperative housing in Switzerland is located in the canton of Zurich. Housing cooperatives started out as social housing in the 1920s. Due to an acute housing shortage, political forces, committed individuals and members of the public campaigned for housing cooperatives to be set up in order to build new houses.
The aim of housing cooperatives is to provide affordable, sustainable and community living. Shared housing is a non-profit-making business. This brings the rent for shared apartments down by about 20% compared to apartments on the private housing market.
Housing cooperatives in the city and canton of Zurich are organised by the association of non-profit housing developers. The regional association of housing cooperatives in Zurich represents over 250 non-profit property developers (mainly housing cooperatives) with around 60,000 apartments in the city and canton of Zurich.
In recent years, the market share of housing cooperatives in Switzerland has fallen to 5%. In the city and canton of Zurich, a new legal framework and innovative construction projects are reviving the movement for shared housing.