On the trip to Lancaster, all I know about cohousing is like a kind of affordable housing that contributed by some social organizations. But when we got and had a chat with people who living in there, I had a feeling that all of those residents are like a big family, they choose to live there not just because of lower rent, they also share different facilities and resources, and have much more social communication with each other than the modern neighborhoods that we are living now. After the quick browse of different function of rooms, for example, kids’ room, laundry room, we made ourselves a great meal in the big common house. A lot of residents came to share the food, and they are so familiar with each other.
The most interesting thing is that I found out they have a food store that you can buy some seasoner, and residents share the duty by writing on a board. This is one of the ways to getting more foundation to develop the community.
Also, in another building, we were showed some large space workshop, offices, art and music studios, etc. This building is funded by the company named Green Elephant. A lot of people can actually work and enjoy themselves by using the amazing facilities and rooms, and they pay some rent, which can be another way that contribute to development. The atmosphere is quiet and full of creation.
For the space that I looked, they share some parking spaces before the river, and the front yards are giving by very narrow space for putting stuff, but their back yard is beautiful and open, they can put the children toys on the ground, and the fences you can hardly see. When we looked at the inside of one of the houses, the space of living room and bedroom are quite enough and comfortable. They also have terraces for first floor and outdoor platform on ground floor to enjoy the air and nature which have contained the privacy and public needs in every houses.
I have learnt a lot of cohousing by this trip, and I will use these experience into our cohousing project.
Images took by Yun Zhang, 2015