Düzce Hope Homes is a cooperative housing programme focused on post-disaster reconstruction in the Beyköy district of the province of Düzce in Northern Turkey. But the programme is about much more than the housing itself. The achievements of the cooperative in gaining access to suitable, subsidised land and developing secure, affordable housing for some of the province’s most vulnerable families is the result of a 15 year struggle for the right to housing.
The Düzce Hope Homes programme was established by Düzce Solidarity Housing Cooperative for Homeless and Tenant Earthquake Victims, a cooperative founded by local people in 2003. Four years previously two devastating earthquakes had hit the area killing over 18,000 people and destroying over 100,000 homes and leaving over 140,000 people with nowhere to live except prefabricated emergency shelters. When their homes and community were destroyed, people joined together to create their own housing solution. Most of the reconstruction work that took place in Turkey after the 1999 earthquakes was based around homeowners – this project extends the right to housing to renters.
Following the earthquakes, which killed over 18,000 people and destroyed 100,000 homes in 1999, non-homeowners did not receive post-disaster support from the government. Over 140,000 people were left with nowhere to live except prefabricated emergency shelters. A co-operative was set-up to fight for the right to housing to be extended to tenant victims of the earthquakes. Through many years of mobilisation and activism, including mass demonstrations and government lobbying, they eventually secured subsidised land on which to rebuild their homes and community.
Co-operative members have been involved in the planning, design and construction from the beginning. Groundwork on the houses has begun with people expecting to move into their new homes in 2018.
This community-led approach is so unique in Turkey that it has received widespread interest, support and enthusiasm from experts and volunteers. Historically, experts (such as architects, urban planners, civil engineers, social scientists, artists and construction workers) work on developments in siloes, distant from the people who will live in the homes when built. Through this project experts, communities and volunteers have found and embraced new ways of working together more collaboratively.
Düzce Solidarity Housing Cooperative for Homeless and Tenant Earthquake Victimshttps://world-habitat.org/world-habitat-awards/winners-and-finalists/duzce-hope-homes/