At a time when housing is so expensive and such a big source of carbon emissions, it’s a shame that there is so little innovation around homes in Britain. I suspect this is largely due to the dominance of a handful of big companies in Britain’s housing market, which skews things towards one model – build estates of new homes and sell them as private dwellings.
One avenue to investigate is co-housing. It’s more common in Denmark, though still a minority interest, and since I’m in Denmark this week, it seemed like a good time to mention it.
Co-housing is a collaborative approach to home ownership, where homes are built as shared neighbourhoods from the start, rather than private buildings. Houses are often smaller, with shared facilities such as guest rooms, a laundry, or function rooms. Gardens and growing spaces are often shared. They can take a variety of forms, but they’re often built with sustainable living to the fore.
The UK’s best example is probably the LILAC development in Leeds, but there are a handful of others already established and several in development. You can find out more from the UK Co-housing Network.