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The Co-Housing Model

- Introduction  

- Development of Co-housing Projects 

- Examples of Co-housing Projects 

Le Cohabitat préconise l’esprit de collaboration des villages traditionnels, l’utilisation durable des ressources naturelles et le partage de biens communs. Le cohabitat représente une réponse novatrice aux défis sociaux, économiques et environnementaux actuels.

A propos des écovillages:  http://gen.ecovillage.org/ 

A propos du mouvement cohousing   http://www.cohousing.org/ 

Cohousing-L References - messages, mailinglist à propos du co-housing  http://l.cohousing.org/


Cohousing, bofaellskaber, kollektivhus, habitation collaboratif:

Se loger en commun, entre la maison saine et la ville verte.

Le cohabitat est une forme de communauté intentionnelle. Il s'agit d'un concept d'aménagement immobilier dont la finalité est de faciliter les échanges humains au sein d'un groupe qui participe à la conception, à la réalisation et à l'aménagement d'un ensemble d'habitation dont ils sont individuellement et collectivement propriétaires.

Issu du Danemark, le cohabitat repose sur six caractéristiques :

  • Un processus participatif.

  • Une conception visant la réalisation d'un quartier.

  • Des lieux et des équipements communs.

  • Une gestion par les résidents.

  • Une structure non-hiérarchique de prise de décisions.

  • Pas d'économie communautaire partagée.

  • L'aménagement d'un cohabitat repose sur quatre principes :

  • Une maison commune qui ancre la communauté.

  • Des sentiers piétonniers qui lient la maison commune aux unités privées.

  • La cuisine (fenêtre et/ou porte) de chaque unité privée qui donne sur le sentier piétonnier.

  • Les automobiles qui demeurent en périphérie de l'ensemble

  • Des repas communs (quelques soupers par semaine préparés à tour de rôle) sont une partie intégrante de la vie communautaire d'un cohabitat.

Cohabitat sur wikipedia

Micro-sociétés alternatives 




Due to dramatic changes in society in the later half of the twentieth century there is increasingly a mismatch between the needs of individuals and families and the available housing. Housing developments have been designed for the model Nuclear family -Ôfather working and a full-time housewifeÕ - while contemporary households are often smaller, with women working outside the home and growing numbers of elderly, single parents and people living on their own. Many of us face a child care crisis, social isolation and a chronic shortage of time, a lack of social and economic support which was traditionally provided by extended families - things which were once taken for granted and which the "Co-housing" model may provide a solution.


The Co-housing Model

Co-housing is the name for a type of collaborative housing that has been developed primarily in Denmark since 1972. Cohousing communities combine the autonomy of private dwellings with the advantages of community living and help meet the needs of todayÕs households for mutual child care, social support and economic efficiency.

There is a successful track record of more than 50 completed schemes in Denmark. Cohousing communities offer a contemporary model for recreating neighbourhoods with a sense of place and security and the sense of belonging which accompanies it.

Cohousing schemes aim to create individual homes with extensive shared common facilities built around a car-free layout and re-establish the social and physical advantages of the traditional village within the context of modern life.


Co-housing provides;

- A balance of privacy and community

- A safe and supportive environment for children.

- A mix of age-groups and incomes.

- Environmentally sensitive design emphasising pedestrian access and open space.

Each home has separate kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and living/working spaces. One of the most important features of a scheme is the creation of a shared common house (co-house), which normally includes a kitchen, dining space, laundry, workshop and childrenÕs room. Participation in the design process by all the residents is at the very heart of a successful new community.


Development of Co-housing Projects - Introduction

The first step is to bring together a group of people with similar aspirations for living in community of eco-homes. Through a series of meetings a vision statement and successively detailed plans are agreed for the proposed project. The group will constitute them selves as a co-operative. The co-operative made up of the future community members normally takes responsibility for the development.

The co-op contracts an Architect or development consultant to help them prepare thier plans or the housing project. This process may take several months whilst each family works with the design team to design their houses, and the community group as a whole design the layout for the project including landscaping and community facilities.

Several projects in Scotland are being designed to have several forms of tenure - rental, shared ownership (with a local housing association, and outright ownership. This will enable families of different incomes to live in the communities. The projects are normally financed by a mixture of private mortgages, social housing finance.

For more detailed information about the Co-housing model and if you or your community group are interested in finding out more about how to implement a Co-housing project contact SCNS - info(at)scns.org.uk


Examples of Co-housing Projects


Several projects on this site are cohousing projects. In Scotland the Findhorn community near Forres has co-housing features and a new development of 44 homes is being built. Other groups include Cohousing 2000 and Tweed Valley.



The image below shows one of the cohousing layouts at the Munkesogaard Ecovillage in Denmark. The Cohouse can be seen to the North with the 20 homes arranged around a shared green.


The Understenhodgen project lies in the suburbs of Stockholm on the edge of a woodland that forms part of one of the cities 'green fingers'. It is a social housing project made up of 44 homes built on a 'co-housing' model by HSB the largest Swedish social landlord.

The project was concieved by Mia Torpe, (centre image), during the final year of her architecture course after she attended a seminar in ecological architecture. She left the seminar determined to see the ideas put into action in Stockholm. In 1991 she persuaded HSB of the feasibility of her scheme and HSB advertised in the local press for people interested in living in an ecological community.


The features of Understenhodgen include:

- Community design of buildings and layout of the settlement;
- Co-operative finance organised between the group and housing association;
- Self-build;
- Co-housing;
- Kindergarten;
- District heating;
- Ecological building;
- Recycling of waste;
- Car free site.



The Hjortshoj project is in the city of Aarhus, North Jutland, Denmark. Unlike the Understenhodgen project in Sweden which was planned, designed and built as a single development, Hjortshoj has grown over 20 years. Hjortshoj was the first sustainable community project of its kind in Denmark.

The movement within society in Denmark towards greater environmental and social sustainability that resulted in the development of Hjortshoj is now creating 20 such projects a year with the support of government financial guarantees and investment.


The features of Hjortshoj include:

- Community design of buildings and layout of the settlement;
- Co-operative finance organised between the group and Local Authority;
- Low cost rented housing;
- Self-Build;
- Co-Housing;
- Co-operative Gardening;
- District Heating;
- Ecological Building;
- Car free site.


American Co-housing Project

In the image below of an American Co-housing community of 26 homes can be seen. The Co-house is the larger building in the centre of the top row of houses. A vegetable garden has been incorporated into the landscape design which provides ample safe places for children to play and adults to socialise well away from the cars which are parked on the boundaries of the site.



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