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What is a co-op?

In the spirit of commons we turn to Wikipedia:

A cooperative (“coop”) or co-operative (“co-op”) is an autonomous association of people who voluntarily cooperate for their mutual social, economic, and cultural benefit.

Cooperatives include non-profit community organizations and businesses that are owned and managed by the people who use their services (a consumer cooperative) or by the people who work there (a worker cooperative) or by the people who live there (a housing cooperative).


Here's an introduction to housing co-ops, a perspective from across the pond:



Sanford is a housing co-operative: our members come together and cooperate to manage their own housing – there are no middle men and no landlords in the traditional sense.


The Seven Co-operative Principles

As a co-op we follow the seven co-operative principles.

  1. Voluntary and Open Membership
  2. Democratic Member Control
  3. Member Economic Participation
  4. Autonomy and Independence
  5. Education, Training and Information
  6. Co-operation Among Co-operatives
  7. Concern for Community


View the principles on this handy poster produced by Radical Routes:

Co-operative principles


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