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Cohousing as a way of living together has been introduced to the world. It has been understood as an approach of organising domestic living arrangements. The concept of cohousing was originally started in Nordic Europe as a ‘first wave’ and developed in North America as a ‘second wave’. Lucy Sargisson focused on and explored what is and why cohousing in the ‘second wave’ in the article of Cohousing: A Utopian Property Alternative?, as they are more researched, more rapidly grew and cohousing in two waves are largely differ from each other. The concept of cohousing could be hard to be defined. However, from a researchers` view, cohousing is physically featured with common facilities, private dwellings, resident-structured routines, resident management, design for social contact, resident participation in development process, and pragmatic objectives. From practitioners` view, cohousing is a lifestyle which escapes typical urban life which is characterised with alienated, un-neighbourly, and making inefficient use of social resources and potential. With such understanding, a survey has be processed in order to explore a successful cohousing development which reveal significant cohesion, representing a set of common structures and highly-valued behaviours and attitudes. Meanwhile, three main findings have be represented. Environment is the first feature as a good environment could always support cohousing movement. According to the survey, conservation, sustainability and use of resources are the patterns that all suggest pragmatic, practical concerns for environment. Common structural facilities is researched as another factor which facilitate the desired community dynamic. All the participated cohousing development show similarities on including some commonly-owned facilities and most are intentionally designed to facilitate social interaction. Such feature requires two perspectives, which are design process itself and the physical outcomes of the process. Such requirements result a reflection of cohousing experience on some physical patterns such as layout of roads, paths and outdoor space, location of parking area, homes, community buildings, and other premises. Structural features also include economic and social aspects. The term ‘community’ has been mentioned frequently which includes social diversity, shared meals, regular meetings and a ‘labour commitment’. Patterns of sharing, participation and giving are most important in this consideration. These experiences suggest that a combination of physical and social design for community could therefore result a cohousing development which people feel safer, more supported collectively responsible and engaged with their local environment. Property always play a significant role in cohousing. A distinctive attitude to property is always the main difference between cohousing and others. Property could form part of the cohousing critique of society as well as part of its vision of a better life. It has been as an approach to solve the issue of social isolation as it encourages residents to go to public space to share with others. Private individual ownership could encourage a particular urban relationship which isolated social life. In this case, the collective ownership, and use of space and land provided by cohousing lifestyle has been seen as an approach to solve of such problem as it offers a certain freedom. Such understandings bring a consideration on whether cohousing could offer alternatives to mainstream property relationship. The view of the collective ownership of cohousing means land is possession, it is owned and can thus be used, changed, and developed based on local demands. However, it does not mean private ownership and individual ownership should be ended. Cohousing in Nordic are always state funds project. Due to the ownership of land belongs to the state and more rental space are available, cohousing in Nordic could has higher proportion for rental housing which result a salutation for social housing. In terms of ideology, cohousing in second wave is always seen as value-free and non-ideological. However, cohousing is suggested to has a core and shared value as environmental conscious, seeking a vision of community which featured with social diversity, personal integrity, responsibility, and honesty.

The world is not flat-questioning traditional ways of urban design


-“The world is not flat.” This blog is my personal idea about what I am experiencing here at Newcastle University for the MA Urban Design. The idea of design at 3D level from he beginning originate from the housing project … Continue reading

Summary for the cohousing article reading


In order to getting started for the project on cohousing in Hexham, some readings  related with cohousing are required for getting basic information and ideas about what cohousing is about. The article for our group member to read is Evaluation … Continue reading

Pedestrian priority neighborhood

main pedestrian

From all the baseline analysis we come up with our vision for the project – ‘colorful village’. Colorful, it not only means visual but also implies diversity. We have six aspects for this vision: 1.a diverse community 2.a vibrant neighbourhood … Continue reading

Hexham Community Engagement Event

 Figure 1 Hexham Community Centre (Alina Pavlova, 2015) On Saturday 18th my classmates and I took a 30 minutes train from Newcastle to Hexham. The trip aim was to visit Hexham Community Centre. The task for this week was to … Continue reading

Colorful Village Project – Study Cases


After all the site analysis completed, the design process will begin. The Selection of some study cases which meets the requirements is one of the process. Study cases are expected to help the designer to develop an empty land that … Continue reading

Developing a Design Brief – Observations of a Participatory Design Process

Participatory Design Process

Semester Two sees the beginning of new projects and the exploration of new ideas, separated into pairs, this terms large scale design project is focussed upon the development of a CoHousing scheme in Hexham, a small town in Northumberland. Under … Continue reading

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