As some one said it: "The challenge of creativity is the willingness to stand for something, to take risks, to be provocative, to challenge the judgements that are a summary of past experience." This page is an attempt to define some of the 'stands' that people are taking in relation to human settlements. I don't know that I can speak definitively about all of these perspectives, so feel free to contribute.
Developed and managed by the residents themselves, it combines the autonomy of private dwelling ownership with the advantages of community living. Although individual dwellings are designed to be self-contained, each having its own kitchen, bathroom and living areas, the extensive common facilities and in particular optional commonhouse dinners are valued features of cohousing. Cars are kept at the edge of the site to create a pedestrian friendly area designed for casual interaction and safe play for children.
In America 30 cohousing projects have been completed and there are 150 projects in the planning stage. Nearer to home in Hobart, Tasmania, Cascade Cohousing has been recently completed.
Eco-Villages whether urban or rural attempt to bring the many tools for sustainable human settlements that are now largely available to us. Eco-Villages being built right now in the US incorperate a number of cohousing neighbourhoods, with open space leaseable for agriculture/Permaculture. Permaculture is a key theme as is an emphasis on 'onsite livelihoods' ie work which gives these projects an economic base. In that sense they are mixed use and therefore reduce travel.
These are the kinds of community dealt with by this website. They are usually distinguished from 'intentional communities' which have tended to have a religious or other focus and significant degrees of shared economy. Eco-Village and cohousing tends to be more autonomous financially and personally, with individuality, diversity and tolerance of difference essential to their success.
The essential core value could be decribed as the Permaculture ethic of care for the earth and care for people. Neighbourhoods for the 21st century!
Page maintained by Peter Scott, last update 30.6.98