Cooperative Refurbishment

Models for Inclusion of Dwellers in Sustainable Refurbishment of Buildings  


Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology



  • Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI), Vienna
  • OTB Research Institute for Housing, Urban and Mobility Studies, TU Delft, Netherlands

Maintenance and retrofitting of existing buildings and flats is of growing importance in the building industry. Already 50% of annual investments go into renovation and refurbishment of old flats. However, extensive refurbishment programmes are impossible without tenant integration – this is particularly true in cases that demand the legal consent of residents (e.g. additional energetical and ecological improvements). An early and systematic involvement of tenants could certainly help to avoid many of the problems concerning lack of support for extensive refurbishments currently encountered by builders. In this project, the demand for cooperative refurbishment is not only a function of necessity. User participation is rather seen as a chance for occupants to actively evaluate their own residential environment. This usually results in high acceptance and identification with the chosen solutions. The project will study the demands of occupants during refurbishment processes in multi floor buildings, develop efficient and feasible models of user participation and implement exemplary participation processes in refurbishment projects. The results will be presented in a practice brochure. The project core is the development of a model of participation with the following features:

  • The outline of an ideal process integrating tenants and possibly also neighbours
  • A modular design that can be adapted to specific practice situations
  • User involvement during the whole process of refurbishment
  • Consideration and promotion of normative aspects of sustainable use of accomodation
  • Suggestions for the integration of neigbourhood concerns and local politics.