Stucco Co-operative

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STUCCO Housing Co-operative is a student housing co-operative in Sydney, Australia. Officially opened on the 21st of February, 1992, it was the first of its kind in Australia, though there is now also the Canberra Student Housing Cooperative.[1] Its name is a contraction of "Student Co-operative" rather than a reference to the rendered coatings on the external brickwork in the STUCCO building. All members must be Australian citizens who are full-time students of the University; two-thirds must be within the income threshold to qualify for community housing.

History[edit]

The Co-operative is located on the heritage-listed former F. W. Gissing glass factory at 197-207 Wilson Street Newtown, New South Wales. The building was built between 1907-1929 and was abandoned sometime after the late 1950s.[2] In the 1980s, the warehouse was being used as a squat when a consortium of interested parties persuaded the University of Sydney and the New South Wales Office of Community Housing (OCH) to purchase the property and provide funding for its redevelopment into student housing.

It is a 40-member Housing Co-operative made up of both undergraduate and postgraduate full-time students of the University of Sydney who hold Australian citizenship. It consists of 8 self-contained units, with 2.5 bathrooms and a kitchen. Common areas include a large central courtyard, an art gallery, a communal hall, workshop, and office. Stucco regularly holds events that involve the University of Sydney community and the Newtown community such as exhibitions, art shows, discussion groups, and parties. Stucco also allows community groups to utilise the space for their own events and has had the pleasure of hosting groups such as The Beautiful Minds Project, the Solidarity Choir, and Adventure Time. Every 6 months Stucco holds large social events that act as fundraisers for issues and groups that are seen as in need by the co-operative members. In this way Stucco has been able to support political organisations such as Refugee Action Coalition and the Redfern Tent Embassy, utilising its resources and space in the community to benefit movements aimed at making Australia a better place.

While, for example in the United States, housing co-operatives are a common type of student housing, in its context, STUCCO represents a radical experiment. It is indeed much more radical than most American student housing co-ops, in that no functions of the co-operative management are outsourced, all administration and decisions being made on a Consensus decision-making basis by residents. Stucco's official opening was on the 21st of February, 1992

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