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From Vienna to Stirchley: Community Led Housing in Urban Development


13 March 2023


19:00 – 21:00


The Priory Rooms Meeting and Conference Centre, Quaker Meeting House, 40 Bull Street, Birmingham B4 6AF


BVSC (Birmingham Voluntary Service Council)

From Vienna to Stirchley Community Led Housing in Urban Development BVSC

The Event


Following overwhelming demand, BVSC have decided to move this event to the Priory Rooms Conference Centre on Bull Street in Birmingham to accommodate the number of people who wish to attend.

About the event

Come and hear expert speakers from Vienna and network with local groups working towards more community led homes in the West Midlands:

  • Learn about exciting new community led projects providing additional affordable homes, jobs and local community benefits
  • Find out how the housing and planning system in Vienna has enabled more community led homes
  • Learn from Vienna about the role community led homes can play in large scale urban settlements and how this is relevant to the West Midlands
  • Q & A with expert panel
Outline Programme
7.00 Celebrating success here in West Midlands.

Eddy Morton (WMUCH) will introduce local projects delivering affordable homes, workspaces and community benefits. We will hear from Beatrice Hughes of Stirchley Cooperative Development who are planning 39 affordable homes, three coop workspaces and community space in the heart of Stirchley, and Christabell Amoakoh, CEO of the Highlife Centre about their ambitious plans to initiate new community led homes in Coventry.

7.30 Learning from Vienna.

Ernst Gruber and Prof Richard Lang will provide an overview of cooperative and self-organised housing sector in Vienna, explain how community led homes have been developed as part of the planning of large urban extensions in Vienna and what social and environmental impact this is having.

8.10 Question and Answer Panel.

Carl Taylor and David Mullins (WMUCH) will chair an open panel to answer questions on the Vienna experience and relevance to the West Midlands.

This event is FREE to attend but spaces are limited. Admission will be by TICKET ONLY.

Guest speakers

Ernst Gruber is an architect, researcher and practitioner based in Vienna. He is board member of wohnbund:consult, an interdisciplinary office working in the field of housing, urbanism and social sustainability. He has successfully participated in many conceptual competitions with social housing concepts, urban developments as well as with co-housing projects and has co-led the conceptual competitions at Vienna’s central Helmut Zilk Park for 15 projects, including four co-housing projects.

Richard Lang is Professor of Social Enterprise and Innovative Regions at Bertha von Suttner Private University in St. Pölten, Austria. He is also Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the School of Social Policy at the University of Birmingham. His research includes social innovation and social enterprises, and sustainable urban and regional development. Since 2014 he has undertaken several comparative studies of innovations in cooperative housing in England and Austria and he is co-founder of the Working Group “Collaborative Housing” within the European Network for Housing Research.

Christabell Amoakoh is CEO at the Highlife Centre in Coventry – a dynamic social enterprise supporting people who face disadvantage and barriers of all kinds. The Highlife Centre provides youth leadership development and promotes community cohesion and social inclusion through arts, culture, heritage events/activities and business development. They also run the creative, cultural business centre WAVA Hall. Christabell sits on the board of WMUCH.

Bea Hughes is an Artist and Art Psychotherapist working in Child and Adolescent Mental Health in the NHS, and has been working with and supporting marginalised young people in Birmingham for over ten years. Bea has been involved in various co-operative initiatives and indigenous-led organisations since 2015. Through involvement in the UK-based Radical Routes Co-operative Network she has learnt about housing co-operatives and the co-operative movement. Her involvement in Stirchley Co-operative Development so far has been through developing the membership policy and liaising with other similar existing community housing projects.

Elizabeth Goodchild is Strategic Partnership Manager at BVSC (Birmingham Voluntary Service Council). Elizabeth leads on BVSC’s Engage for Good Programme and chairs their Environment and Energy Network, including addressing sustainable housing. BVSC is passionate about making a positive difference to Birmingham’s people and places. We believe that the key to this is found in our 5000 Voluntary, Community, Faith and Social Enterprise (VCSFE) organisations creating change in the City. BVSC supports these organisations. Throughout all we work to Engage for Good – enabling the sector to voice and tackle challenges, work in cross-sector partnerships and take action for our communities. 

Getting to the Priory Rooms

The Priory Rooms Conference Centre is tucked away through a courtyard off Bull Street, just by the tram stop. You can read detailed instructions on how to find the venue at the Priory Rooms website.

It is a very short walk from Snow Hill and Moor Street rail stations, and only 10 minutes’ walk from New Street. If you are driving, we would suggest parking your car in Snow Hill car park – it is nearby and reasonable rates.

If you need to book a disabled car parking spot at the Priory Rooms, that is possible but we will need to book the space – please contact hello@wmuch.org.uk to arrange this.


Sound good? Register your place.

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