Speaking notes for workshop:
“A Co-operative Blueprint for Older People’s Social Care” or
“Growing old disgracefully”
In this brief introduction to the discussion, key questions covered will be:
- What is the problem cohousing is trying to solve?
- What is cohousing?
- Where are the existing examples of cohousing? Are they working?
- What are the benefits?
- What are our underlying values/politics?
- How can you get involved in cohousing?
What is the problem cohousing is trying to solve?
- There is a massive crisis in housing in terms of
- Supply generally
- Affordability in the rental sector
- Affordability the home ownership sector
- Current housing stock generally unsustainability – carbon footprint
- Isolation and loneliness especially amongst older people
- Can we rely on the market to sort it all out? NO!
- We need bottom up solutions from communities not just top down ones from government.
What is cohousing?
- An intentional community
- Created and managed by residents living and working on shared tasks together
- Individual self-contained households with 1 to 4 bedrooms
- Central feature is a ‘Common house’ with kitchen-dining room, launderette, shared equipment, cars, etc, plus other shared spaces – gardens for being in and growing stuff, children’s play areas, workshop, bike shed
- Cohousing is a way of combating the alienation and isolation many experience today, recreating the neighbourly support that existed for many more people in the past – especially relevant as we get older!
Where are the existing examples of cohousing? Are they working?
- The movement has been well established in many countries, e.g. USA, Scandinavia, Holland, Germany, in some cases for decades
- 19 current projects across UK, 70 groups developing projects
- Lancaster: individual mortgages, PassivHaus standard
- LILAC : Mutual Home Ownership Scheme, straw build; aims at being carbon -ve, de-linking from property market
- Most multigenerational, a few for older people, some women only
What are the benefits?
- A balance between privacy and increased social interaction when you want it
- Reduced impact on the environment, lower energy costs for individual households
- Sharing resources and skills, friendships and learning from each other
- Inclusive, getting support when needed
- Joint meals, growing food, sharing certain facilities – it’s cheaper!
- 10 ways to be loneliness “live together – but not together”. Observer 2016
- A positive, alternative way of living that supports the non-profit making housing market – Cohousing can be a compromise between the craziness of both the rental market and of the private housing market
What are our values/politics?
- Cohousing projects are “intentional” communities
- Value wellbeing of all members, offer mutual support and work together
- Value shared social activities and accept time commitment for tasks
- Valuing people’s individual contributions, whatever their stage or situation in life
- Respond to conflicts creatively with commitment to resolving them
How can you get involved in cohousing?
- Join and use the UK Cohousing Network
- Find a local group or set up a local group
- Visit existing projects, e.g. LILAC learning days info at: http://www.lilac.coop/ link up with Manchester Urban CoHousing at www.cohousingmanchester.uk
- Link with local stakeholders – community housing groups, neighbourhood forums, housing associations, local councillors, planning department in LA, Link with local community land trusts 2010: 30 Now 225 with 700 homes (3000 homes by 2020) http://www.communitylandtrusts.org.uk/
- There is a massive crisis in the housing sector and a climate change crisis – cohousing is one of the solutions
- Cohousing is interesting, challenging and fun!
- Cohousing is cheaper and it’s sustainable