These families wanted a village, so they built their own

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These families wanted a village, so they built their own

A new co-housing development in Madrid aims to serve as a model, where impromptu gatherings are by design

Miriam Foley

When Madrid’s schools were closed in January due to the coldest weather in 50 years, parents living in the Entrepatios cooperative housing development already had a model that would have made many parents struggling through pandemic closures jealous. Their on-site “school” was inaugurated. Thanks to child care shifts and a Google calendar, working parents were able to focus on their day jobs most of the time, while their children took part in a children’s yoga class, a sleigh ride in the snow or a performance in the communal playroom.

“It’s like a village,” says Cintia Díaz-Silveira, who moved into the new cooperative housing block of flats at the end of 2020 with her partner and two children, aged three and one. For Díaz-Silveira and her fellow inaugural residents, their new living situation is their answer to the refrain “it takes a village to raise a child”. And they hope it can be a model for others who want to start something similar but don’t know how.

“We have our own bar, our own hairdressers, our own consumer group. We don’t need to go shopping because everything gets delivered,” she joked of the block of flats she shares with 16 other families and 23 children. The complex is the first of its sort in Madrid, and part of a cooperative housing movement that’s starting to expand in Spain and elsewhere. ..

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