Understanding Cohousing and design a cohousing for old people



Figure 1 source:The Cohousing Company McCamant & Durrett Architects

Cohousing is a living area built by the residents who work together, and the residents themselves will actively participate in the design, construction and management of the whole community. The residents of cohousing are blended into the whole community life consciously, while the physical design of the community encourages the communication of individual space and community. In the cohousing community, the private houses contain all basic functions of the conventional houses, and the residents also have the opportunity to get the outdoor public facilities, like an open community space. In order to save the resources and indoor space, the community is also provided with public laundry room, storage house to reduce the resource burden of private residences.

Cohousing was started in Denmark in the 1960s, from then on, the design concept of “living community” has been rapidly spread globally, and this new type of living form has been widely accepted by everyone. Mccamant and Durrett (2011) proposed that cohousing is a typical demonstration community in the new field of sustainable development, and they made great success in achieving the sustainable development of environment, society and economy. I understand there are some typical features include in cohousing project through case study and field trip to Lancaster cohousing project.

Being closed to the traffic network makes it convenient for the residents to travel, and encourages them travel in green and environmental manner. The advanced frame technology is applied to achieve the minimum use of timber, and the solar azimuth is analyzed to consider the utilization of natural lighting and solar energy. Various new, environment-friendly and sustainable materials are also applied in the house construction, while the outdoor land use design also meets the demand of people’s community activities. And community garden also needed in community life.


Figure 2: Hexham community engagement event

Source: (Alina Pavolva, 2015)

In the cohousing project we design, we want to design a cohousing community for the old people. When we investigated Hexham, we found that the local population is aged, the young people are not around the old people, and the ole people will feel lonely and are lack of care, while the senior cohousing community provides an opportunity for the old people to get together, enhance the mutual exchange and makes the old people can care each other, maintain vitality and health. Therefore, from the demand of the old people, we first considered many types of houses for selection, like one bedroom houses, two bedroom houses and three bedroom houses for big family. and keep all designs destination can be simply used and accessible. After the preliminary plan, we went to Hexham again to joined in Hexham community engagement event,communicate and discussed with local people on their different understandings and ideas to the residential design, and I mainly discussed with them on the opinion of outdoor landscape design. In the meeting, many ideas of the local residents were clear and expressed directly, making me collect a lot of useful information. I thought some of their opinions carefully and applied them in the design. I understand that the most important in design is to consider what groups of people will use the land, how to use it and how to make people use it happily, so as to improve the quality of the whole living environment by connected the indoor and outdoor space connection.



Durrett, C. & McCamant, K. (2011), “Cohousing and Community: Creating Co-housing”, New Society Publishers, Canada.

Figure1: http://www.cohousingco.com/projects/san-juan-bautista-artisans-plaza/

Figure2: Alina Pavolva, 2015

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