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Open letter

Open letter to the Federal Council of Switzerland


regarding the public petition for the socialisation of the real estate holdings of former Credit Suisse


Dear members of the Federal Council,

We write in support of the above petition. The future of the real estate portfolio of Credit Suisse Funds AG must be urgently addressed in the wake of the institution’s collapse. The Federal Council has important responsibilities and options for action in this regard, given the current national and international housing crisis.

We are a group of international scholars and experts on housing, planning and economic development. Our members come from more than 150 cities and five continents. We held our annual conference in Zurich this year with support from the Department of Architecture of ETH Zurich. We heard from Swiss experts in our fields and were presented with findings from deep economic and housing research. We saw impressive examples of the Swiss model of economically and environmentally sustainable cooperative housing.

We were alarmed however to see the effects of the financialisation of Zurich’s private housing market. The redevelopment of Wydäckerring, for example, has resulted in residents’ displacement due to rent increases of 250 per cent. At an affordable estate in Wiedikon, which is under redevelopment by Credit Suisse, we met several elderly long term residents under eviction with nowhere else to go. We discussed developments across the city and the country that are under similar kinds of pressures.

Our network has extensive research experience in the economics of housing and its privatisation and socialisation. All the origin cities in our network have problems with housing affordability, but the destruction of low cost housing by a large and powerful institution like Credit Suisse, in one of the most wealthy nations in the world, is unjustifiable. The collapse of this institution raises serious questions about its real estate and housing assets.

The state guarantee of the acquisition of Credit Suisse by UBS involves billions of public money. To not protect the residents of its assets in this transaction is unacceptable. Substantial structural change to the financialised corporate landlord model is essential. The model is inadequately regulated and its ability to responsibly and sustainably manage housing is demonstrably poor.

Socialisation of the fund’s real estate holdings would transfer their management to the public sphere. It could ensure a continuing supply of affordable housing throughout Switzerland. It is our collective opinion that such an initiative is legally viable, and there is a rich array of public, non-profit and cooperative housing models to guide such a venture. We are happy to provide advice on this.

We expect a thriving democracy such as Switzerland to not disenfranchise its inhabitants. The socialisation of Credit Suisse’s poorly-managed property portfolio is well within the Federal Council’s capacity.

Salecina 5. June 2023

Yours sincerely

International Network for Urban Research and Action INURA

CH-8005 Zürich, Switzerland



Open letter editors (in alphabetical order)

Dr. Panayotis Antoniadis, NetHood Zurich, Switzerland

Dr. Ileana Apostol, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Dr. Gruia Badescu, University of Konstanz, Germany

Dr. Nitin Bathla, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Andreas Bentler, Stadt Münster, Germany

Dr. Matthias Bernt, Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space, Germany

Maria Soledad Betancur Betancur, IPC, Colombia

Jens Brandt, Tampere University, Finland

Dr. Tino Buchholz, University of Stuttgart, Germany

Dr. Onur Ceritoglu, INURA Zurich, Switzerland

Bob Colenutt, INURA London, UK

Dr. Constance Carr, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Stefan De Corte, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium

Karlheinz Deventer, INURA Hamburg, Germany

Jaap Draaisma, INURA Amsterdam, Netherlands

Hon. Prof. Michael Edwards, Bartlett School of Planning, UCL, London, UK

Prof. Dr. Eniko Vincze, Babes-Bolyai University, Romania

Orhan Esen, Bundesverband für Wohnen und Stadtentwicklung, Berlin, Germany

Dr. Kike España, University of Málaga, Spain

Paloma España-Naveira, University of Málaga, Spain

Dr. Rubén Mora Esteban, University of Malaga, Spain

Prof. Dr. Momen M. El-Husseiny, American University in Cairo, Egypt

Dr. Sorin Gog, Babes-Bolyai University, Romania

Prof. Dr. Kanishka Goonewardena, University of Toronto, Canada

Dr. Teresa Hoskyns, CRAC Crosscultural Research on Architecture Collective, UK

Prof. Dr. Ute Lehrer, York University, Canada

Prof. Dr. Roger Keil, York University, Canada

Prof. Dr. Stefan Kipfer, York University, Canada

Dr. Philipp Klaus, INURA Common Office, Switzerland

Dr. Manuel Lutz, STATTBAU GmbH, Germany

Dr. Marvi Maggio, INURA Firenze, Italy

Prof. Dr. Cristina Mattiucci, University of Naples “Federico II”, Italy

Faiq Mari, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Dr. Vera Marin,  ATU – Association for Urban Transition, Romania

Prof. Miguel A. Martinez, Uppsala University, Sweden

Dr. Alokananda Mukherjee, Jadavpur University, India

Anna Lisa Pecoriello, INURA Florence, Italy

Prof. Dr. Camilla Perrone, University of Florence, Italy

Anastasiia Ponomaryova, NGO Urban Curators, Ukraine

Mariia Prystupa, Kharkiv National University, Ukraine / University of Helsinki, Finland

Prof. Dr. Fred Robinson, Durham University, UK

Prof. Dr. Christian Schmid, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Antonia Steger, Urban Equipe / Mieten-Marta, Switzerland

Prof. Dr. Angela Stienen, Bern University of Education, Switzerland

Dr. Linda Strande, Eawag, Dübendorf, Switzerland

Siegfried Bernd Ries, INURA Vienna, Austria

Nicolas Rolle, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Prof. Dr. Marit Rosol, University of Würzburg, Germany

Mark Saunders, Spectacle, London, UK

Katja Schwaller, Stanford University, USA

Dr. Kate Shaw, University of Melbourne, Australia

Sabeth Tödtli, Urban Equipe, Switzerland

Ueli Trachsler, INURA Zurich, Switzerland

Dr. Nazli Tumerdem, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Prof. Dr. Omar Uran, Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia

Dr. Justyna Orchowska, University of Warsaw, Poland

Dr. Richard Wolff, INURA Zurich, Switzerland

Dr. Tammy Wong, Osaka Metropolitan University, Japan

Associate Prof. Dr. Iacopo Zetti, University of Florence, Italy

Qianer Zhu, ETH Zurich, Switzerland


To sign this letter (for INURA members), please send an email to zurich2023@inura.org

To sign the petition, please visit cs-immobilien-en