‘A Slow Build-Up of a History of Kindness’: Exploring the Potential of Community-Led Housing in Alleviating Loneliness

Jim Hudson*, Kath Scanlon, Chihiro Udagawa, Melissa Fernández Arrigoitia, Mara Ferreri, Karen West

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

This article explores the potential of community-led housing (CLH) in combatting loneliness, and represents a mixed-methods research project carried out from just before the beginning of the pandemic, through 2020. Methods comprised a nationwide quantitative online survey of members of CLH groups (N = 221 respondents from England and Wales), followed by five case studies of communities representing a range of different CLH models. This qualitative element comprised participant observation, and semi-structured interviews at each group. The article also considers data from a smaller research project carried out by the same team in July 2020, that aimed to capture the experience of the pandemic for CLH groups, and comprising an online questionnaire followed by 18 semi-structured interviews. We conclude that members of CLH projects are measurably less lonely than those with comparable levels of social connection in wider society, and that such benefits are achieved through combinations of multiple different elements that include physical design, social design and through social processes. Notably, not all aspects of communities that contribute positively are a result of explicit intentionality, albeit the concept is considered key to at least one of the models.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11323
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalSustainability
Volume13
Issue number20
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2021

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