Cohousing originated in Denmark in the 1960’s, so is not a new concept. In a nutshell, it is the building of an intentional community of clustered housing – each home is independent with its own backyard but has easy access to common shared neighbourhood facilities.
The main principles of cohousing are as follows:
- Encourages real community - residents are involved from the outset and have strong input into the form and function of the houses and shared facilities, and how they will be used and managed. Social gatherings and activities in common spaces will encourage community, combat loneliness and build natural support systems. The ultimate aim is a strong, stable, positive community.
- Mixed demographics - residents of all ages and family types (single people, couples, families and single parents with children) are encouraged to mimic intergenerational family living.
- Independent – residents manage their own individual and community needs. Despite the focus on community, privacy is also respected; homes can be self contained domains and when residents require community they simply step outside and be involved at a level to which they are comfortable.
- Affordable – economies of scale and smaller home footprints make cohousing developments affordable and accessible.
- Safe and secure – security-focussed design and a close knit neighbourhood network encourages natural community surveillance and support systems.
- Environmentally sustainable – cohousing developments consider the landscape, green technologies and community sharing to be as environmentally sustainable as possible.
Over time cohousing has evolved and adapted to the unique needs and requirements of the communities it is supporting. As with other successful cohousing projects across the world, Waingakau Village will develop its own principles, guided by its own community.