Micro-living / Cluster-Living. Evaluation of communal forms of houisng for small households

ETH Wohnforum – ETH CASE (2019). Mikro-Wohnen / Cluster-Wohnen. Evaluation gemeinschaftlicher Wohnformen für Kleinsthaushalte, Bundesamt für Wohnungswesen, Grenchen.

In Switzerland, more than two thirds of all households are small households with a size of one to two persons, and the trend is rising. Affordable housing is scarce in cities. The pilot study examines projects in the field of micro-housing / cluster housing in terms of supply, affordability as well as possibilities for communal living, which have been realised in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. The report gives and overview of projects and urban typologies  between 2008 and 2018 and provides examples for cities that face high housing prices and demographic change.

In Switzerland as in many westernized countries, more than two thirds of all households are small households with a size of one to two persons. Since the 1990s, single-person households have even been the most common form of living in Switzerland. The country is thus following a general trend towards the singularisation of society, which goes hand in hand with the increasing ageing of the population and the dwindling influence of the nuclear family as a social model of life. However, the housing market reacts only hesitantly to this social development. This poses particular challenges for residents of cities and agglomerations in their search for suitable, affordable housing. In addition, people living alone in life situations such as studying, training or retirement, are particularly dependent on central locations with good infrastructure. It is therefore not surprising that collective forms of housing such as cluster housing or the micro-housing model are currently seen as possible solutions to the lack of affordable smallsize apartments. The report summarizes the comparative research on 53 projects in Switzerland, Austria and Germany that were compared for their housing concepts, affordabilty and suitablity for urban transformation.