In The Hague, the Netherlands, there is an apartment building for college students which has been built by a high school. College students can pay the rent in kind. In return for a flat, the renters has to teach classes at the high school which owns the building, for eight hours a week. Apparently this was a very attractive deal, since in no time 20 out of 26 flats were occupied within no time.
This initiative is quite inspirational. And we should wonder whether this model could be generalized. We can easily imagine that cities could require that people who rent publicly owned homes, to perform eight hours of community service. This could include anything from taking care of the elderly to cleaning up the neighbourhood to helping at sport clubs.
Linking public housing with community service will increase social capital and strengthen civil society. Of course, it is important that renters will have a range of different types of services to choose from.