Self-organized community housing: Italy goes Mietshäusersyndikat

With La Foresta we started out working on the issue of affordable housing. Our aim is to tackle the issues of precarious and high-cost housing by tracing pathways on how to secure houses in Italy that can become commons secured in perpetuity.
Especially since Covid 19, housing has become a major issue in our area; wealthy people from larger cities are buying up real estate in our rural mountainous area in an effort to escape the increasingly intense summer heatwaves, and secure a calm retreat in nature. This makes for a fragmented and liminal community of people who feel disconnected to one another: those that are simply passing through our area as a holiday or retreat site or are only there for a season have a less embodied connection with the land and people. It also creates problems for the existing population, especially those involved in activism, as it makes the procurement and maintenance of housing more expensive and precarious.


Starting location will be the Lagarina valley.


The Mietshäuser Syndikat Model is not common in Italy


At La Foresta, we want to address these problems via the exemplary purchase of a house to turn into a housing commons for activists in perpetuity. 


However, we are facing two key issues at a political level that require confronting before proceeding as build up for the concrete campaign to buy a house:

  1. What legal structures need to be put in place in order to make sure the house remains as a permanent resource also for future generations of activists and the community? This could follow a model similar to the one of the Mietshäuser Syndikat in Germany and Austria.
  2. What kind of feminist housing model do we want to propose for the use and maintenance of the house? We would want to ensure that residents are autonomously engaged in activism, and also feel connected to the care of their immediate environment.


Our collective aims are:

– To build the political knowledge of how to create and preserve living spaces that foster social and environmental justice.

– To reduce the risks of isolation, depression and exhaustion.

– To guarantee outside the market and the logic of ownership a space in which to live, host and from there to do activist work at a local and international level.

– To reconfigure the way in which we care for others with authentic, everyday relationships that intersect living and working.

– To reshape the idea of kinship, care and affection.

The Mietshäuser Syndikat Model. Illustration by Justine Hartwig.


This project is supported by the Guerilla Foundation.