The effects of cohousing on the social housing system: the case of the Threshold Centre

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Abstract

This work aims to assess whether cohousing communities might generate positive effects in terms of social housing. Cohousing projects are “supportive” communities where many types of informal support networks arise, referring to the concept of sharing spaces, facilities, but also properties, the decision-making process, and experiences. The costs of the sites and construction are often higher than a “normal condominium” (especially if they are resident-led communities), and sometimes, they might be responsible for the failure of the groups: inhabitants of those communities born spontaneously, without any kind of public aid, are mainly from a medium–high socio-economic status. However, in the UK, where cohousing follows mainly a grassroots model, some communities are able to keep the costs down, in particular by the creation of mixed tenure systems, collaboration with Housing Associations and self-building processes. The Threshold Centre in England allocates 50 % of the residential units for social housing. The collaboration with a Housing Association produced a “good housing” model, which allowed both a reduction in construction time and a guarantee of the creation of a heterogeneous group (but with a compact identity), as well as the inclusion of socio-economically vulnerable people.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-644
JournalJournal of Housing and the Built Environment
Volume30
Issue number4
Early online date13 Jan 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes

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