Escaping the Parasite of the Student Flat

Reflections on an experiment in co-operative housing

Hamish Kallin and Mike Shaw

Published in Issue 1.1 // Updates

Keywords: Student housing; co-operatives; studentification; Edinburgh

Abstract:

Students are increasingly cast as active agents who exacerbate the housing crisis in British cities. In Edinburgh (Scotland), rising student numbers has led to an acute tension, with the wider population concerned over contested claims to space. As a transient population who are forced to pay high rents, students are associated with new-build developments that market a “luxury” lifestyle in gated complexes that are necessarily exclusive. Contrary to this, we show how students are themselves victims of financialization through both the classroom and their homes. But they do not have to accept this role. Through the example of the Edinburgh Student Housing Co-operative, we explore one bold attempt to break out of this conjecture and escape the parasite of the student flat.

Hamish Kallin is a Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Edinburgh.
Mike Shaw is a co-founder and member of the Edinburgh Student Housing Co-operative Ltd.

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