Skip to content

Cohousing or shared living has become one of the first options for many people when seeking an alternative to the bustle of contemporary cities. The cohousing communities are often a part of the planning and designing process as they share the common spaces like gardens, laundry, dining, guest rooms etc. The residents are responsible for maintaining these spaces by sharing the tasks and ensure that the community runs smoothly. Being part of a cohousing community offers both social and economic benefits and presents the opportunity to be part of a community where neighbors take care of each other.

Financial Benefits

Often, at the first glance, cohousing can be seen as an expensive investment but it offers economic saving in the long-term with access to a full range of facilities that are more common in larger, luxurious houses (Belk C.,2006). Costs on transportation, childcare, common rooms, workspaces, food storage and many other essential necessities are shared in these communities. With all these savings, the cost of cohousing can offset. Residents often share the services like babysitting, child care, helping with events and other activities within themselves which in turn further reduces the need for financial outgoings. (Village Resources Cohousing Consultants)

Social Benefits

Cohousing improves social relationships based on trust, care and generosity among the neighbors. This generates stronger bonds, familiarity and proximity that are usually seen to be lacking in a speculative housing. Sharing meals, childcare, peer support, counselors, communal celebrations add to the relationship of the cohousers and brings further closeness in the community. The elderly and people with special needs benefit from the ‘semi-sheltered’ nature of cohousing neighborhoods.  (“What Is Cohousing? | Oxford Cohousing”)

Ecological benefits

Environmental awareness is a subject of great value within the cohousing community. Community members try to make an impact on the society by carrying out many sustainability projects like tree planting, car sharing schemes, provision of bicycle lanes, water saving and recycling. By bringing together and sharing innovative and eco-friendly initiatives, these communities help to mitigate current environmental and social issues. The carbon footprint is also substantially lowered and a study in the US shows that the cohousers use upto 60% less energy in their houses and have living spaces that are 30% smaller than the national average. (“What Is Cohousing? | Oxford Cohousing”)

However, living in cohousing isn’t for everyone and for some people, the amount of work involved in communal living and the investment of their private time for attending meetings and taking care of common areas is a deal-breaker whereas these communities become a haven for those who crave for a close-knit colony where the surrounding community forms a part of day-to-day life. (Livingston, A.) By offering a chance to understand and know their neighbors and enjoy living as a community with friends, cohousing instills a sense of togetherness and strengthens the social bonds within society.

References :

“What Is Cohousing? | Oxford Cohousing”. Oxfordcohousing.org.uk. Web. 20 May 2017.

Charles L. Belk, 2006. Cohousing Communities: A Sustainable Approach to Housing Development. Available at: https://extension.ucdavis.edu/sites/default/files/co_housing.pdf

“Cohousing Benefits- Village Resources Cohousing Consultants |”. Cohousingconsultants.com, Web. 20 May 2017.

Available at : http://cohousingconsultants.com/why-cohousing/

Livingston, Amy. “Communal Living & Cohousing – Types & Benefits Of Intentional Communities”. Moneycrashers.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 20 May 2017. Available at : http://www.moneycrashers.com/communal-living-cohousing-types-benefits-intentional-communities/

Image reference:

Economic, Social, and Environmental Benefits, Available at: http://www.teach.center/benefits/

Environmental and Social benefits,Available at: http://biosynthetic.com/environmental

Save

2 responses to “Cohousing Benefits”

  1. Here in this post, Diva talks about the some of the benefits we get from the self-built community led housing. She particularly highlights economic and social aspects of it as we know there is an image of co-housing being expensive scheme in all places. But, I agree with her that co-housing is more of a long term investment in which you save good amount of money over the time period. Because of the shared facilities, overall cost for individual owner comes down. For an example owner of the house don’t need to buy laundry machine or a house with one extra bed for guests because most of the cohousing schemes include shared laundry facilities and guestrooms available on rent on the site. There are several different things on which one can save daily expenses. Car sharing often saves fuel expenses and you don’t have to buy a car by your own, Farming allotments or kitchen gardens provide some vegetables and herbs on site, workshops can generate income through running different classes. And as Diva says most of the schemes have sustainable elements which also saves good amount of money on electricity and water bills over the time.

    Second most important part she highlights is the social life you get in this type of development. That is been a main purpose of creating cohousing. Closely oriented houses, shared facilities, shared activities and functions like cooking for each other creates strong bond and trust between residents, which can be helpful in any emergency situations. Overall cohousing gives you some good long term benefits.

  2. Diva has spoken comprehensively about the benefits that cohousing provides covering areas of finance, sociability and ecological benefits. I would like to bring forward the discuss the setting up and managing one of these projects, using Lancaster as the case study in question.
    At the start of the project, the cohousers help weekly ‘build and resource meetings’ where a dedicated team would discuss the management of the project, addressing any issues that arose and come up with recommendations. (Lancaster Cohousing, 2017.) They would put forward during in the monthly general meetings which are attended by all. After construction was finished they set up a management committee which would run the ‘day to day’ which would constitute one member of each household. They would decide what areas of responsibility the subcommittees would have. (Lancaster Cohousing, 2017.)
    In terms of normal management, they do employ a kind of consensus based approach to decisions, but less dependent on the group full agreeing with a decision but a majority being a decision vote. I would mention that everyone’s views are carefully taken into consideration in the final decision as they can have multiple meetings on the same issue for everyone to voice their opinion.
    All in all, I think that Lancaster does have a good management structure, to tackle the difficult issues which would have arose during development. I should also mention that the composition of its members with a large proportion being professionals in some form of industry which would have provided essential skills in development.
    Reference:
    Lancaster Cohousing, (2017.) “Lancaster Cohousing: Structure”. Lancastercohousing.org.uk. Web. 21 May 2017.

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

Tel: 0191 208 6509

Email: nicola.rutherford@ncl.ac.uk


Hit Counter provided by recruiting services