Cohousing Canberra is the latest group to join SEE-Change.
Our goal is to deliver at least one cohousing development in the inner north by 2022.
Our inner north cohousing development would be:
- Socially supportive
- Economically viable and
- Environmentally sustainable
The group formed in 2017 when three people discovered they were separately trying do something about cohousing. So they came together and formed Cohousing Canberra.
The group is made up of diverse individuals with a range of skills. The group includes design, building and sustainability experts, as well as people skilled in community engagement and development.
The group has three sub-groups working to answer the following questions:
- What structure will the group adopt at each stage of the project? For example will it be a cooperative or a company? We are looking at a range of structures, including the Nightingale model.
- How will we finance purchasing the land and then constructing the development?
- What will the ACT Government allow us to do? Currently cohousing is not defined under the Territory Plan.
The group meets monthly, with sub-groups convening at other times.
Why have we chosen the inner north?
Most group members currently live in the inner north and want to stay close to family and friends in an area they know well. The inner north also has some excellent open spaces, a good bike path system and access to the light rail and many local shopping areas.
What would it look like?
The final form of the cohousing project will depend upon the land purchased. However many members have expressed interest in owning a compact separate-title townhouse or terrace with a private courtyard.
Cohousing Denmark 2008. Image from Flickr Seler+Seler
What is cohousing?
The one thing that cohousing developments share in common is that residents deliberately set out to live with one another. Some share common areas like gardens, laundries and a common area for cooking, movies and quieter areas for work or yoga. Groups can decide to share regular meals with one another.
Cohousing projects can remove developers and real estate agents from the property development process helping keep costs down.
Cohousing in Australia
There are a number of examples of cohousing in Australia – here’s a selection below:
- Christie Walk, Adelaide: Youtube video
Includes a mix of stand-alone dwellings, townhouses and an apartment block on 2000sqm – shared laundries, gardens, common room.
- Westwyck, West Brunswick, Melbourne: www.westwyck.com
A converted former school into apartments and a 2nd stage of townhouses with shared outdoor spaces and bike shed.
- The Commons, Brunswick, Melbourne: www.nightingalehousing.org/the-commons
Apartment block includes shared rooftop garden with food growing
- Nightingale 1, Brunswick, Melbourne: www.nightingalehousing.org
Opposite The Commons – 20 apartments with average star rating of 8.2 stars with a shared 18KW solar array and rooftop garden (under construction during 2017)