What is the
CALICO Project?

34 housing units in an innovative initiative




CLT : More than housing

In the Community Land Trust model, the housing units are sold to their homeowners while the land on which they stand is kept within a trust, effectively taking the units away from the speculative private market and making them perpetually affordable. The land beneath CALICO will stay within ownership of the Public Utility Foundation of CLTB, a structure governed by a tripartite administrative council composed of representatives of civil society, CLTB inhabitants and candidates, and elected officials, per the traditional CLT model.

The CALICO project, awarded with European funding, includes both an intergenerational and an intercultural component with a particular attention to the gender dimension, while providing housing for low-income families

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CALICO is a Community Land Trust building. This model ensures the sustainability of its accessibility by removing the land from the market.

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Life cycles

CALICO integrates birth and end-of-life facilities, offering people the possibility to come into and leave the world in a familiar environment.

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CALICO will be open and integrated into the neighbourhood, with a shared space and a community garden within the housing estate.

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CALICO will ensure a mix between generations.

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CALICO will set up a system of mutualised care.

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CALICO integrates the gender perspective into the whole project.


CLTs (Community Land Trusts) are organisations that acquire land to manage it as a common good, together and in the interest of the community. The system has existed since the 1970s in the United States. CLTs can take many different forms, but some basic principles remain unchanged: ownership of land is separated from ownership of buildings, allowing low-income households to buy housing at a price lower than the market price, and the price of housing remains affordable for future generations, thanks to a ceiling price on resale.

The CLT of Brussels (CLTB) exists since 2012. As the first CLT in continental Europe and co-coordinator of CALICO with the Brussels-Capital Region, it has been internationally recognised as a pioneer in the field and has twice been financed by the European Union for innovative projects. By using housing as a means of integrating populations in difficulty, the CLTB includes its candidate-owners at every stage of housing production, with a view to empowerment and social cohesion.

The concept of “end-of-life” (mourance) developed by the psychologist and psychotherapist Lydia Müller seeks to inscribe death and mourning in the process of life, as part of a cycle and not an end. The integration within CALICO of birth and end-of-life facilitieswill provide adequate spaces for people who wish to give birth or die in an empathic and familiar environment. Integrated within the home, they will be coordinated by the Pass-ages partner. The aim of this association is to create a caring living space in Brussels, open to its environment, designed to welcome anyone who wishes to experience these “passages of life” naturally, in harmony and in connection, accompanied by professionals and volunteers.

In terms of precariousness, gender is an aggravating factor and this mechanically impacts on women’s access to housing. In Belgium the gender pay gap is 21% while the pension gap is 26%. Moreover 80% of parents raising children alone are women. This increased poverty is compounded by various gender-based factors of discrimination in access to housing, which partly explains the fact that the number of women experiencing homelessness almost tripled between 2002 and 2011 (Lelubre, 2012). Angela.D is CALICO’s partner association responsible for putting gender issues at the centre of shared housing through awareness-raising and training on gender equality issues.

At 1.2 million inhabitants, Brussels is a world-oriented metropolis, thanks to its status as capital city of Europe, its cultural diversity and its central spot at the center of North-West Europe.

As is the case in many other big European cities, Brussels is experiencing difficulties in housing access. Those difficulties mostly affect vulnerable social classes such as women, elderly people, low-income families and migrants. Often, they have to spend over 60% of their income on housing.

One specificity of Brussels is that it has a young population with one of the highest demographic growths in Europe of the last 20 years. However, Brussels is also just as concerned with problems related to an ageing population as the rest of Europe. New, specific needs appear, notably in terms of care. Innovative approaches are needed to strengthen peoples’ autonomy within their living spaces and develop intergenerational solidarity.

 It is in order to answer in an integrated manner to these challenges that Brussels’ public powers, associations and universities have joined forces to take part in project CALICO (Care and Living in Community).

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The EVA bxl association, supported by the VUB and the housing partners, will be in charge of integrating care into housing via a series of interactions between volunteers and professionals from the medical world. Care characterises a relationship of assistance that is either  family-based or professional; it refers both to the activity of caring for a person who depends on it and to the concern for the reception of this care. Its singularity lies in the astutecombination of technical and emotional skills. It is a way of caring for others taking into account the person as a whole. Care will be integrated in a mutualised and comprehensive way within the home.

The ageing of the population is a phenomenon that affects Belgium as much as its neighbours. The risk of isolation of older people increases as society becomes more individualised, and their meagre income rarely gives them the opportunity to live in affordable and suitable housing. In CALICO all generations are represented. Older people have access to affordable housing and, if they wish, are surrounded by people who actively participate in the life of the home according to their skills. The younger generations are happy to benefit from the presence and transmission of the seniors.

With a space open to local initiatives and projects designed with the neighbourhood, CALICO will be a fully-fledged player in the local urban network. The VUB university is responsible for analysing the success of the project. As a centre of expertise and initiator of the development strategy for the Brussels area, perspective.brussels is contributing its expertise to the CALICO project via the Housing Referent.

In CALICO, twenty flats will be purchased and financed by two cooperatives managed by the partners who will then rent them out to future tenants. The flats in Pass-ages will be purchased by a cooperative set up and managed by their inhabitants. The flats in Angela.D will become the property of the investment cooperative called “Common Ground” initiated by several Brussels associations. Most of the flats will be made available at a social rate thanks to the intervention of the social rental agency (SRA) “Logement pour Tous”. The land will remain the property of CLTB’s Public Utility Foundation, guaranteeing that the anti-speculative clauses for all these housing units are respected. This model allows the strengthening of participatory governance in rental housing. It also positions the combined use of SRAs and private finance as tools for the long-term control of socialized housing.

Discover the surroundings

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CAre and LIving in COmmuniy

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Entraide & Culture

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Bras Dessus Bras Dessous

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Most important

October 2021

Final assessment of the project. The final conference is the opportunity to take stock with all parties involved.

Summer 2021

Inauguration of the project. Residents take up residence in their new home. Birth and end-of-life facilities welcome the first users.

May 2021

Completion of construction work on the building.

March 2020

Groups of future residents are formed from each of the three clusters.

October 2019

The allocation criteria for the housing units is determined.

March 2019

A kick-off event with stakeholders is organized. The reflection on the co-creation of a community care model is launched.

November 2018

Launch of UIA project CALICO.


CALICO is an inclusive and participatory project: the inhabitants are an integral part of the decision-making process thanks to the various decision-making committees.

Among the committees in which the inhabitants meet to decide on their future within CALICO are:

  • The governance committee, a place for consultation and coordination between the 3 housing clusters in order to agree on the decision-making methods between the inhabitants and to define the governance structures, including for the future of the co-housing project.
  • The care committee, in charge of setting up care within the housing estate.

Future PLANS FOR participation

There are plans to set up :

      A festivities committee, responsible for organising events by and for the residents.

      A garden committee, in charge of the management of the shared garden.

The 34 CALICO families  come together during dedicated decision-making assemblies. For the inhabitants, these meetings are central to discuss, organise and dream about their future home.