Understand design in the design process of cohousing



Figure 1. Source : Atlanta Web Design

As an international student, I deeply feel the difference of the Chinese and western cultural ideas from life to academic research. After graduating from university, I worked for one year, mainly contacted the business plan design, now I return to the university in Britain for further study, and in the transition of these different processes, I had different opinions to design in each stage, and also had different thoughts and attitudes to design.

I have always been thinking that city is an interesting and wonderful thing. We use our own idea and paintbrush to design and modify the whole city, so as to create a better living environment for the human beings. I think design serves people, and all designs start from people’s demand and desire to achieve a perfect effect. In this term, we begin to design the cohousing community project, and I find that human is not the only subject to be considered, because in the process of design, we must consider many other factors, for example, how to blend with the environment surrounding the site, and the treatment of natural environment and biological environment of the original site. Design does not mean to change the environment to adapt to the development and use of human beings, but it is to achieve the sustainable development of human beings and environment, and this is what we should think in the current process of design.

After the case study before design the detail, I found that the initial purpose of the cohousing was to make people live in a better community and help residents to create a happy life, but in the process of continuous development and improvement later, cohousing has become a new trend of sustainable development, because it reasonably solves the problem of sustainable development. The living concept of cohousing is let private resident centered on the common house to sharing community resources is an effective way to reduce the resources consumption and optimize the energy efficiency, so as to promote a sustainable lifestyle.

Figure 2: Landscape design plan in China20130717043306278

Source: http://nihaoya.com/html/daihihe/

In the process of design, according to the socioeconomic conditions of Hexham, we designed three different types of houses, cohousing, social houses and private houses to meet the different housing demands of the local residents. In the treatment of outdoor space, in British they relatively stress the simple and freeway, and they pay more attention to the utility and guidance of the site, and more importantly, they create an appropriate public space according to the environment, but not to change the current status to achieve the purpose. On the contrary, in the business plan design of China, the designers and consumers pursue the external image excessively, and they often are more willing to spend more money and time meticulously building many different landscapes to enrich the public space of the community, for example, large spray fountain, meticulous sculpture and expensive decoration materials, now it seems that these landscapes of gorgeous appearances do not attract people to more participate in the outdoor activities, on the contrary, those meticulously trimmed lawns are prohibited to be stepped, while the high expenses behind the meticulous design, including the later maintenance and repair fees are borne by the residents, and this increases the living burden of the residents while the residents do not enjoy the outdoor space very well.

Therefore, in the study and design of different projects, include cohousing, nantes project and other design work. I deeply think and study the design concepts which I did not know previously, and it helps me understand design better and learn how to consider the design for different projects from different perspectives.


Figure 1. Source: http://www.atlantawebdesignga.com/about-atlanta-web-design

Figure 2: Landscape design plan in China. Source: http://nihaoya.com/html/daihihe/


2 thoughts on “Understand design in the design process of cohousing

  1. Hi Vivi, very interesting read and thank you for the post. I agree with the comments that you make. As you have clearly highlighted that there is this need, you could even say requirement to make the design of a place meet the needs of the local people. In my experience if a design does not meet the needs of the local people, then the development could not work and would not get the support that was intended.

    With regards to your comments in the latter part of your post, do you think there is a reason why your home country tends to see landscape and landscape architecture as a pivotal role? Yes, parts of the UK have these beautiful landscaped areas, however as you start to go out into the countryside, there is an emphasis on the natural landscape as opposed to the manicured like you mentioned. I would like to hear your comments on the matter, as I am very interest in hearing about different cultures and different feelings that people have in their home countries.

    In relation to your comments about the manicured landscape, do you think you have had to change the way in which you work in the UK. Because I assume that you would have produced magnificent landscape features in your home country, however as you say there is less emphasis here, do you think you have had to change the way in which you work?

  2. As came from the same cultural and education backgroud, I am so glad that you prensent the situation of the difference between countries and culture so percisely. I agree your idea of “city is an interesting and wonderful thing. We use our own idea and paintbrush to design and modify the whole city, so as to create a better living environment for the human beings.” The thing is, to design and plan a place is not only what we can give to this place, maybe it is also important for how people actually use this design and make the place have more things to be happened?
    Also about the large scale open space of neighborhood, I think in terms the big population and high density of the city, maybe those open spaces can use for more interesting landscaping part to attract people to use them, and I do believe open space is important for the people who are living in the place. The situation is different that in UK, it usually consider what is the need of people, and then design based on these analyses, which makes the design more reasonable.

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