Leeds housing focus: What is cohousing?

LILAC pictured in 2015
LILAC pictured in 2015
Have your say

We may be lagging behind our European neighbours when it comes to cohousing schemes but they are gradually gaining momentum in the UK - and Leeds.

Leeds housing focus: Cohousing - time to go European?

Cohousing is an intentional community, created and run by its residents who live in private houses surrounding around a shared space.

Residents come together to make decisions, do their laundry, eat meals, share hoovers, lawnmowers as well other communal activities which aim to bring a return of ‘neighbourliness’ - often lost with volume housebuilding.

Members of cohousing communities have a say in what gets built, how it gets built, who lives there and collaboratively manage how is run.

It began in Denmark, where the first community was built in 1972. Today, one per cent of the Danish population - about 50,000 people - are living this way, according to the UK Cohousing Network.

In Germany there are 150 cohousing projects in Berlin’s region alone.

The UK only began to develop cohousing at the end of the 1990s and Leeds’ LILAC, in Bramley, was the UK’s first affordable, ecological cohousing project when it was built in 2013.

The UK Cohousing Network reports there are now 19 built cohousing communities in the UK and over 60 cohousing groups developing projects, including in Leeds.

Jimm Reed, director of CoHo Ltd, which project managed LILAC, said: “Cohousing is not like a hippy commune - some people get that idea but it isn’t. You get a lot of people who have similar mindsets but you dong have to be fully invovled with every single thing.”

Read more:

Leeds housing focus: Cohousing - time to go European?

‘Leeds needs a housing revolution’

Leeds housing focus: Homes built for the people – not for profit