The twelve terraced houses at Karens Minde in southwest Copenhagen are the first in a series of projects that are part of the City of Copenhagen's Affordable Housing initiative.
The 12 terraced houses at Karens Minde in southwest Copenhagen are quite unique. Not for their distinctive architecture, or for their particularly interesting internal layout, but because they are the first batch representing the City of Copenhagen's ambition to build Affordable Housing.
The Affordable Housing project was devised by Lord Mayor of Copenhagen Ritt Bjerregaard. The aim of the project is to build dwellings at rents low enough that it will be affordable for the municipality's key workers to live in the capital close to their workplaces.
Retaining key workers
Key workers include policemen, nurses, healthcare staff, primary school teachers and kindergarten teachers. For many years these trade groups have been pressured by rising house prices to move away from Copenhagen. There is a shortage of such staff on the Copenhagen labour market, and those who continue to work there spend suffer long commutes.
The housing scheme at Karens Minde has been given the name Vildrose (Wild Rose). Each 85 sq.m. terraced house is designed to accommodate a family with a couple of children. The Vildrose quarter contains 38 shared-ownership terraced houses, 12 of which are let out under the Affordable Housing scheme.
Optimised industrial building techniques contribute to keeping down the prices. The development is a so-called modular housing construction, which means maximized manufacturing in a factory, under controlled conditions, at low production cost. The design of the housing scheme is thus based on the factory production system, but with great inspiration from contemporary Danish architecture and Danish housing traditions. Flexibility, unobstructed admission of natural light and supplementary transmission of daylight through skylights have been important factors in the design of the housing units.
The Affordable Housing Foundation
The Affordable Housing Foundation is behind the construction of the Vildrose development. This non-profit organization was set up with the objective of building flexible and affordable housing for families on ordinary incomes. It was former in a collaboration between four other foundations and one association: Boligfonden Kuben, KAB-Fonden, Kooperationens Udviklingsfond, DIS-Fonden and the Architects' Association of Denmark (AA).
How to qualify for an affordable dwelling
The housing units are allocated by lot among applicants who satisfy a number of criteria. The eligibility criteria are based on current household size, total income and capital, employment status and geographical location of current home. 1,500 house hunters participated in the drawing of lots for the 12 dwellings.
The Vildrose affordable housing development is a pilot project, aimed to test working methods and to pioneer new designs. The mission of The Affordable Housing Foundation is to build 5000 affordable housing units in Copenhagen. The first 42 units are planned at Karens Minde. The next 200-300 units are likely to be built near the Valby Idrætspark stadium.
In addition to that, the following locations have been proposed as possible sites for affordable housing developments: the Østre Gasværk site, the Beauvais site at Ryparken station, Ragnhildgade, Torveporten in Valby, Grøndals Vænge, Amager Fælledvej, Kløvermarken, Ørestad Syd, and the Århusgade area in Nordhavnen.
THE FINANCIAL SIDE OF AN AFFORDABLE DWELLING
The rent for an affordable dwelling of 85 sq.m. is DKK 5000 in 2005 prices. Like other goods and services the rent level follows the general development of wages and prices in society and will therefore rise by approx. 3.5 per cent a year.
The rent includes all expenses apart from water, heating and electricity consumption.
The Affordable Housing Foundation has developed a financing plan, which ensures that the housing expense is maintained for many years at a level corresponding to approx. 20 per cent of the gross earnings of the target group.
The Affordable Housing Foundation does not make a profit on the housing properties. Instead, they use part of the profit from the sale of owner-occupied housing on financing additional affordable housing.
Last updated Tuesday, January 21, 2014