Cohousing involves a housing cluster with shared facilities such as a communal garden space, laundry, and for gatherings and recreation. Inter-household participation in working bees or other social activity can help build community among neighbors, thus promoting tolerance and cooperation.
- Shared use of resources enables individual housholds to enjoy better facilities than they could afford by themselves.
- Shared public space and communal activities generate social interaction and a sense of community among neighbors.
- Sharing of facilities, good relations with neighbors, and social interaction made easy means that people can enjoy a better quality of life for less material consumption.
With a communal garden, housholders can enjoy the extra greenspace while only owning or renting a portion of it. A communal laundry means that householders can access a top-of-the-range washing machine for a fraction of the capital cost per houshold.
A communal kitchen and meeting space can supplement the kitchen and living space of individual households, allowing for events that bring together people from different housholds in the cluster, as well as people from the greater community, in numbers that might not be easily accommodated in an individual housing unit, thus allowing individuals to live in a small dwelling while having access to the facility of a large dwelling as needed.
Larger cohousing clusters with sufficient space might invest in a communal swimming pool and other recreational facilities, or allocate part of their grounds as a grassy area for ball games or a sandy area for an outdoor fire pit.
Cohousing helps children from neighboring households play together without straying too far from adult supervision, as well as facilitating intergenerational contact.
Urban Ecology Articles
Cohousing: Socially and Environmentally Sustaining. Guy Dundas. Urban Ecology Australia. 2003. Communities intended primarily as great places to grow up, grow old, or grow veges often turn out to be showpieces of environmental design. The desire for social connection creates a concern for the health of the living environment of the community.
Cohousing. Wikipedia. 2004. A Cohousing community is composed of private homes supplemented by common facilities. Through spatial design and shared social and management activities, cohousing facilitates interaction among neighbours.
Cooperative Housing. Saturday Extra. ABC. 2005. With cooperative housing, people still have their private spaces, but jointly share facilities such as workshops, sewing rooms, laundries. This principle can be applied, not just to houses, but to caravan parks, mobile home parks, retirement villages, ecovillages.
What is Cohousing? Coho/US. Cohousing is the name of a type of collaborative housing that attempts to overcome the alienation of modern subdivisions in which no-one knows their neighbors, and there is no sense of community.