What is co-housing?
Co-housing is a form of housing development that is made of adjacent private properties who then share facilities to make efficient use of resources.
At Hockerton each family owns their own house and has a private garden, but we share energy and water systems, and grow and buy much of our food as a group to save time and money, and share skills. In meeting our needs we make the most of our natural capital (the land, rainfall, sun and wind) and our social capital (the people, our time and our skills).
How does co-housing work?
In our view, the key to making co-housing work is clear governance and a collaborative approach.
At Hockerton Housing Project, our governance is set out formally in our planning agreement and the related 999 year leasehold. Each adult is committed to providing 300 hours each year towards community activities, whether that is assisting the co-operative business, growing food, or maintaining the land or energy and water systems. The rules are minimal, so provided we meet our basic needs there is space for social entrepreneurship in line with our goal of bringing sustainability to life.
This film by the Open University from our early years shows how we keep our homes warm without any artificial heating, how our sustainable water systems work, how we grow food as a group, and social aspects of the co-housing project.
We now use the lessons we’ve learned from building and living in these homes to help others take a holistic approach to sustainable building. Visit us to see how the Project has developed!