Sustainable Community: A Cohousing Book
A new book about cohousing and sustainable communities has been published by Graham Meltzer. It is based on a ten year study of cohousing — a popular new type of planned residential community that addresses environmental and social needs. The book contains many photographs and diagrams from twelve cohousing developments around the world — these are concrete examples of successful sustainable communities.Cohousing is a new type of cooperative housing first developed 1970s in Denmark and the Netherlands. It spread rapidly to other Northern European countries in the 1990s has taken root in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Cohousing integrates autonomous private dwellings with shared utilities and recreational facilities such as kitchens, dining halls, workshops and children's play facilities. Cohousing residents comprise an intentional community. They choose to live together and to share property and resources. They develop a rich social life that includes regular shared meals.
Meltzer argues that although many of its underlying principles are derived from social experimentation of the 60s and 70s, cohousing is not a marginal or fringe phenomenon. Most cohousing residents are regular middle-class folk with fairly conventional lifestyles. Therefore, cohousing has the potential to include, engage or 'touch' enough people to make a quantum difference to our long-term sustainability.