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What are the benefits of cohousing?

We’ve listed 9 reasons why we think cohousing is a brilliant way to live.

1. It’s community-focused

With cohousing, neighbours own their homes but share resources and responsibilities. By meeting up regularly for meals and social occasions, everyone gets to know each other. It’s a great way to build trust and means that people in cohousing communities are more willing to look out for one another, to watch each other’s children, or pick up shopping for someone who’s ill.

2. It’s a way to live more sustainably

By sharing resources, cohousing residents can significantly reduce their carbon footprint. Plans for Angel Yard include a communal laundry room, a workshop with jointly-owned tools, bookable guest rooms, a car share scheme, an allotment, multipurpose play spaces and hot-desking areas. Plus, the neighbourhood will be built to the highest sustainability criteria affordable, using environmentally-friendly materials to create highly energy-efficient homes.

3. It’s great value for money

Each household in a cohousing community contributes to the costs of shared facilities. However, by sharing some meals and reducing the need to own certain items, neighbours are able to live more cost-effectively. Communal areas and shared guest rooms mean each house has less infrequently-used space, and Angel Yard’s homes will be designed to save money on heating and cooling.

4. It’s great for families

As the saying goes, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. In cohousing communities, there’s more freedom for children to play safely with their friends. Parents often find it easier to share childcare responsibilities and appreciate having other families around for support. By living within a diverse, close-knit neighbourhood, children have a range of role models with mixed skills and backgrounds.

Image by David Butler of Marmalade Lane Cohousing, Cambridge.

5. It’s safe

Many cohousing communities are built around a shared, pedestrianised area - either a ‘street’, courtyard or communal garden, which acts as a car-free safe space for children to play together. Neighbours are able to keep an eye out for each other, reducing incidents of crime.

6. It’s inclusive

Cohousing can suit many different people. Whilst some groups are specifically for women, LGBTQ+ residents or older people, others seek to build diverse, intergenerational communities with a mix of young adults, families with children, older parents and retirees from varied backgrounds. Angel Yard’s community is for anyone of any age and any background, who wants to live as part of a sustainable neighbourhood.

7. It’s good for wellbeing

The core values of cohousing are becoming increasingly relevant. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, 9 million adults in the UK said they were always or often lonely*. During the national lockdowns, many cohousing communities report having felt closer than ever.

Image by David Butler of Marmalade Lane Cohousing, Cambridge.

8. It’s an opportunity to build your own home

Self-building is a dream for many people, but the associated costs can often be a big barrier. By working together and going down the custom-build route, cohousing communities can help to shape their own homes and neighbourhood from scratch.

9. It’s about (all) of you

Within cohousing communities, decision-making happens by consensus, meaning that plans are made in the interests of the whole group, taking everyone’s needs into consideration. Whilst you might not always get your way, this does mean that you have greater autonomy over your neighbourhood and can help to make sustainable decisions which improve each other’s lives.

Want to know more?

Discover our plans for Norwich’s first cohousing community, visit The Project.

* According to a study by The Co-op and the British Red Cross


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