Creation of the cooperative

The cooperative began its activities through the reception of housing by “contrat de prêt à usage”, or loan for use contract. After a few years of management, the cooperative wished to find more durable housing solutions, as the management of buildings that are planned for destruction or renovation was, and continues to be, a great source of housing for students, it is a temporary solution to the housing crisis. The Ciguë thus decided to try building its own accommodations. Currently, the Ciguë offers roughly 550 rooms across Geneva, 60% of which are in buildings rented or loaned on a temporary basis to the cooperative (on average 2 to 3 years). The remaining rooms are within buildings constructed by the cooperative.

An engagement to social housing

Our engagement towards social housing operates around three principal axes: the economy, participation, and ecology. In each of these three important dimensions of habitats, our cooperative seeks to implement practices promoting solidarity and responsibility for a contribution to improving the quality of housing for people in training in Geneva.

The economy

A non-profit seeking entity, the Ciguë invests its profits in the development of construction or renovation projects. The Ciguë thus seeks to build low-cost housing by working with the costs of construction, collective amenities (common kitchens and washrooms), the type of management (self-management by residents) and control over energy production and consumption. The construction of buildings is also a way of providing mandates and work to local companies.

The participation of residents

By definition, the cooperative is managed, controlled, and directed by its members: all housed members of the cooperative in addition to a some formerly housed individuals who continue to invest their time and energy into the cooperative. Members of the cooperative are engaged in the cooperative in two ways: in the management of the cooperative, and within their common apartments. Residents are the ones who decide on the cooperative’s policy orientations during General Assemblies, and participate in its daily activities through the various committees and ad-hoc working groups. Within apartments, each resident benefits from an individual room, and shares their kitchen, living rooms, and water rooms with their flatmates. The daily management and maintenance of apartments is the responsibility of members of the cooperative.

Ecology

When a new resident enters the cooperative, they sign an ecological charter along with their lease. This charter specifies the cooperative’s engagement to constructing and utilizing buildings in an ecologically respectful manner. At the individual level, members of the cooperative commit to adopting behaviors in accordance with these goals: recycling waste, saving energy, using renewable or low-energy consuming forms of transportation, etc.,
Convention écologique Ciguë (Ecological charter of the Ciguë)

The ecological charter is currently available in French only. If you are skilled in translating from French to English, Spanish, or German, the Translation committee is currently seeking volunteers to help us translate this and other important Ciguë documents! Please contact Alexandra at alexendra@cigue.ch if you are interested in helping out!