Stucco Co-operative

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STUCCO Housing Co-operative is a student housing co-operative in Sydney, Australia. It was the first of its kind in Australia, though there is now also the Canberra Student Housing Cooperative.[1]


Originally an abandoned and squatted warehouse, 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 allow its redevelopment into housing as it is today. In return, Stucco must house only students of the University of Sydney, and is located at 197-207 Wilson St, Newtown, New South Wales. Its name is a contraction of "Student Co-operative" – there is no stucco in the building.

It is a 38-member Housing Co-operative made up of both undergraduate and post-graduate students of the University of Sydney. It itself is split into 8 units, which each share 2.5 bathrooms and a kitchen. The building contains an Art Gallery, A Communal hall, Workshop and Office. Stucco regularly holds events, art shows and parties that involve both the wider University of Sydney community, but also the Newtown Community as well. 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 and the Solidarity Choir. Every 6 months Stucco holds massive 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, 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. Two-thirds of the students must be within the income threshold to qualify for community housing. Stucco opened its doors in 1991.


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