From the Cohousing Subgroup of the Working group on Building & Housing
Transition Town Totnes (UK)
Cohousing is a form of housing provision common in Scandinavia, Holland and Germany, and North America. In the UK, there are four fully-established cohousing communities up and running, with up to ten times as many in various stages of development. The key features of cohousing projects include: The combination of self-contained dwellings with shared facilitiesA lifestyle which can be more affordable and more ecological
Projects are developed and managed by the residents for mutual benefit, with the site held in common ownership. Developments are designed to encourage social contact and a sense of neighbourhood and community, while honouring private space.
Therefore, cohousing provides a means by which people can maintain a level of independence and control over their living situation, whilst gaining from the mutual support and neighbourliness that cohousing projects engender. It also provides an ideal structure for developing lower-carbon lifestyles. Car pooling, food growing and laundry facilities are just three examples of resource sharing that can be in-built into cohousing projects. But aside from pre-planned interdependence opportunities like these, the development of a community spirit will encourage a wealth of beneficial relationships to flourish between members and beyond, which can benefit the environment as well as the individuals involved.