I.D.E.A.S. Co-operative Society Ltd

Integrated Development of Eco-cities through Actions and Services

The IDEAS Co-op was formed on the 29/2/92 to promote the development of Eco-cities. It currently owns one dwelling and is managing two others. The IDEAS Co-op is also supporting the Brisbane Region Environment Council and establishing a worker Co-op.

Mission Statement

The city is the solution, not the problem.

The IDEAS Co-op takes action to build sustainable cities with a better quality of life. Sustainable cities meet the physical, emotional, and intellectual needs of residents in a way which does not unduly impact on natural ecosystems.

By providing housing, information and other services to our members, we enable them to secure a sustainable and supportive community. We will help transform our society through promoting our models to the wider community.

The main goals of the IDEAS Co-op

GOAL 1. To advance the development of Eco-cities through the example of our actions and the services offered.

GOAL 2. To engage in educational activities which further the mission of the Co-operative, both within the Co-operative’s membership and the wider community.

GOAL 3. To develop and promote models of urban communities which contribute to the re-vitalisation of cities in a sustainable and economical manner.

GOAL 4. To develop innovative models of medium density and ‘not-for-profit’ housing incorporating urban permaculture; energy efficient architecture; household recycling; and Co-operative, non-consumerist lifestyles.

Our Housing Project

One of the main features of the project is that it allowed a group of unrelated people to jointly buy and share a house, with individual equity and no government assistance. The housing project currently manages two other houses of younger people in preparation for them jointly buying their own housing through the Co-op.

The social structure of our society is changing. The majority of people no longer live in nuclear families. There is an aging population, an increase in single-parent families and an increasing number of people choosing not to have children. There are also many adults who want independent housing security within a co-operative community. Present housing options fail to meet the housing needs of these people.

The community is also starting to recognise that we need to build our settlements in a way which does not needlessly damage the global and local ecosystems we are part of. There is a need to test models for future urban lifestyles which will be the basis of ecologically sustainable development.

Medium density housing allows us to optimise the use of building materials and frees land for food production. Plumbing, wiring and drainage infrastructure is less than required for suburban developments. Higher population densities lower the cost of land per dwelling and thus lower the total cost of housing. The number, and therefore costs of utilities such as telephones are reduced through sharing. All of these factors mean that medium density housing reduces resource usage.

Our intention is to build ‘world standard housing’, reflecting a lifestyle which could be lived by all people without irrevocably damaging our environment. The materials and details of the designs to this new standard would differ from place to place but the emphasis on minimising resource use and shared facilities balanced by private spaces would remain the same.

Legal Structure

The I.D.E.A.S. Co-operative Society Ltd. housing project differs from other medium density projects in its financial and legal structure. Rather than each resident paying for individual title to a living unit, they own shares and equity in the total assets of the Co-operative. This allows people who have little capital and low incomes to band together to their mutual benefit and to have the housing security they could not otherwise afford. Their living costs are further reduced by sharing tools and equipment; costs of utilities and services; and the costs of food.

Overall the Co-op is managed by the Board of Directors elected by the Annual General Meeting of members. The Board manages the Co-op as set down by the Act, the Co-op's Rules and according to policies as determined by the general meeting. In addition, a Residents Group for each household makes policy recommendations to the Board and approves intending residents. This group collects charges and forwards them to the Board.

Resident shareholders sign a contract with the Co-operative called the Resident's Agreements. This contract binds residents to regular weekly contributions to cover mortgage repayments, rates and other charges and maintenance costs. The Resident's Agreements also specify the rights of occupancy of a particular space for a particular time; the amount and timing of charges to paid to the Co-op; and it guarantees the resident rights of quiet enjoyment. It also sets out the rules on guests and other visitors staying in the Co-op and other agreements related to their occupancy. The contract will ensure that the Co-op maintains the buildings in a habitable condition.

Not all members of the Co-op are residents of the housing project. The I.D.E.A.S. Co-op will undertake other projects to promote the development of Ecocities and provide support to other groups working to the same ends.

Our Employment Project

IDEASweb Logo

The Co-op is currently facilitating and supporting the formation of a worker Co-op focussing on providing hi-tech services for On-line advertising and E-Commerce. This project hopes to provide 4 full-time positions and a number of part-time or casual positions. This new Co-op is being designed to provide jobs for younger people.

Want to know more?

For more information E-mail ideascoop@ideas-web.net

Or write to IDEAS Co-operative Society Ltd

POB 479 Morningside 4170

last modified Saturday, 30 October 1999   Page by IDEAS-Web    info@ideas-web.net