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Tzika, Z., & Sentieri, C. (2022, February). Understanding co-creation in the transdisciplinary research of sustainable and affordable housing [Conference abstract]. Reinventing the city, Scientific conference AMS Institute, Amsterdam.

Posted on 16-02-2022

The housing crisis, especially in the countries of the European south, is characterized by a lack of supply, rising prices, and the deterioration of the housing stock. An increasing part of the population is facing inadequate housing conditions, exclusion from decent housing and energy poverty. The groups that are most affected, are the ones with limited economic, social, or cultural resources, such as low-income families, young people, immigrants, and the elderly.


The term co-creation is being used, as a way to include the local communities in the provision of affordable and sustainable housing solutions, that are meaningful and have an actual impact on their social life worlds. It is used to indicate the importance of active participation in the collective decision of the issues that affect them, and the design, implementation, and evaluation of actions that aim in affordable and sustainable living environments. Often centralized decision-making in the provision of affordable housing is not aligned with the needs and the perspectives of the local groups leading to dislocation and exclusion.


Furthermore, participation is being co-opted and used only in name to manipulate and legitimise processes where participants lack decisive power. For that, it is important to clarify the nuances between co-creation and other processes of participation. To draft our definition-in-process we will review the literature of co-creation to understand how we arrived at the term, and what are the motivations and objectives behind it. Through a state-of-the-art review, we identified emerging concepts and values that define and distinguish co-creation from other more passive forms of participation.


Co-creation is understood as a potentially transformative process, in the context of transdisciplinary research for affordable and sustainable housing. It emerges and starts where the people are, strengthening the importance of representation, empowerment of the community, and their ownership over the process. Also, it is an iterative and reflexive process that aims to redistribute power and resources.

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