Factors that influence the continuity and cohesiveness of North-West European Cohousing Communities
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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One of the fastest growing types of intentional community; cohousing aims to provide an enhanced sense of community, while also retaining the possibility for privacy among its residents. Research has shown that cohousing communities have the capacity to foster social and environmental sustainability. Therefore, increasing attention is being given to cohousing options as solutions for multi-generational community living, or for ‘stay-at-home’ choices for older people. Nonetheless, the body of literature on cohousing remains scarce, especially in terms of primary studies investigating the factors affecting its success. In view of these considerations, this study sets out to determine important factors that influence the long-term success of cohousing communities. Social capital and environment-behaviour theories are used as a frame of reference; whereas in-depth interviews with 46 cohousing residents from 16 different cohousing communities (across four North-West European countries: Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK) form the main body of data. In three of these countries, cohousing has a long history, and it is well-established. Desk research, spatial analysis of the physical design, and participant observation supplement the accounts of interviewees. The findings reveal 16 important factors that influence the long-term success of cohousing. These factors can be categorized under four ‘grand’ themes: motivation; development process; physical design; and environmental sustainability.
PhD Thesis - School of Art and Design
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