Co-housing offers people the opportunity to be part of an intentional community. This alternative housing method will often be built upon active participation and be ran by residents offering high levels of social interaction and self-governance.
Co-housing normally provide a combination of private and shared space often consisting of a common house and communal outdoor space. The benefits of living within a co-housing community are well documented and it is often considered a sustainable way of living.
Figure 1. Three Pillars of Sustainability
Living within a cohousing community has been suggested to provide a better quality of life, providing a sociable setting which can help reduce the feeling of loneliness, particularly within the elderly, as well as offer a level of safety and security.
Although co housing projects have different objectives and some may not always be deemed ‘affordable’. There is other financial benefits including the sharing of communal appliances along with offering the opportunity to downsize whilst still having use of shared facilities such as storage and guest bedrooms.
The ethos of co-housing revolves around the sharing of resources and facilities which inevitably reduces consumption. Co-housing schemes often tend to consider the environmental impact in the design of the scheme and utilise a number of eco-friendly initiatives as demonstrated in both Marmalade Lane and Lilac. Examples include; use of sustainable raw materials, renewable energy, sustainable drainage and communal recycling facilities.
Figure 2. Shared Garden at Marmalade Lane Co Housing
Despite the number of benefits associated with co-housing there are a number of barriers which can make schemes difficult to deliver. A key barrier being that there is no standard ‘one fits all’ methodology which can result in a timely process. Others include appropriate sites being available and an optimum number of homes delivered in order to make the scheme viable.
Does co-housing offer a desirable way of living? Can the barriers to Co-housing be resolved? Could co-housing play a dominant role in the UK housing market?