‘Cooperative housing’ as a form of state intervention has been a well recognized tool for improving the housing situation in both the developed as well as the developing worlds. The rise of contemporary urbanism in India is a direct outcome of the distant colonialism and mercantile trade. No account of urbanization or housing in India can ever ignore the historical interdependence between the developed and the developing worlds.

In the attempt to comprehend the various dimensions of cooperative housing, a global perspective into the past becomes imperative before a review of the present situation in India.

A brief glimpse into the history of human civilizations would reveal the myriad attempts of man to obtain shelter and congregate in cities; all the way from the caves and tree houses of Africa to the mud buildings of Arabia, from the igloos of Iceland to the thatched huts of coastal India.

The city is still the market place for goods and ideas, the locus of a contractual society, the mirror for emulation, the meeting place for diversities and the center of culture. The village and much later the city in history has always been a place of community living.

However, cooperative housing and condominium housing (a form of real property title having many similarities with cooperative housing) as perceived today is more a form of state intervention in housing rather than a continued existence of earlier forms of natural community living. State ideology in fostering community living, either in the form of communes, cooperative housing estates or condominiums had a major role to play in contemporary human settlement development. Due to the marginal success achieved through state intervention, the Builders in Kerala had been given more freedom to develop and sell housing units of all types and shapes. These builders have achieved much within a short span of time.