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In a typical Cohousing  community,  it involves 8 to 40 households who are inter-generational (UK Cohousing Network, 2017).  All adults of them are encouraged to design the community together.  This refers to a stage on which they could share ideas and discuss with each others (UK Cohousing Network, 2017).  Last two weeks, we are asked to design a participation workshop to collect residents’ ideas. Our group were responsible for the part of sharing and communal facilities.

The Workshop Process

Before designing, we considered what information do we need. Then we determined to collect three kinds of information:

  1.  What “types” of shared facilities are needed by residence;
  2.  What is the “suitable distance” from their house to the facilities;
  3.  “Where” the resident want to allocate the facilities.

We offered 10 types of facilities: café, restaurant, laundry, studio, car parking, garden, guest room, communal kitchen, common room, tool room.

We also provide two maps:

The map 1 shows ‘your house’ in the middle and each circle means different walking distance from your house.

The map 2 contains plots that have three levels of privacy.

  •  Pink means private space;
  •  Yellow means semi-public space;
  •  Orange means public space.

Figure 1 :Two maps. (Authors own, 2017).

Figure 2 :”Residents” are deciding the location of facilities. (Authors own, 2017).

Residents were asked to choose facilities which they think necessary. They could also tie the facilities they think should be together. Then put flags on the suitable area of the maps. We found that everyone could easily understand the game and gain their interest.

Figure 3&4 :The collected ideas on the maps. (Authors own, 2017).


In the process of designing a game, we feel one of the most important things is clearly defining what information we need. For example, we want to know the location relationship between facilities and surroundings (such as roads, entrance, and green lands). In terms of the designed goal, we design the map2 with plots in diversely surroundings and different levels of privacy.

In addition, it is also important to think about the enjoyment and participation. We design several coloured flags, therefore people could easily identify the facilities and feel interested to stick them. To collect more information at the same time, we took some easy measures: we asked people tying up flags together which they consider these facilities needing built together.

Designing a game is an useful way to collect information from residents. This helps us to know about residents’ ideas and then design a people-led community.


UK Cohousing Network. (2017) About Cohousing [Online-Internet] . Available at: (accessed: 30 March 2017).

Image resources:

  • Figure 1 :Two maps. (Authors own, 2017).
  • Figure 2 :”Residents” are deciding the location of facilities. (Authors own, 2017).
  • Figure 3&4 :The collected ideas on the maps. (Authors own, 2017).

School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509


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