Living in community can be a better housing choice. Among the benefits frequently mentioned are that it is healthier because it combats loneliness, and that it provides an opportunity to share resources. Cohousing is a successful model for sustainable community building & living. But what is it?
At the end of 2018, the proponents of Harmony Park Housing Co-operative in Singleton (WA) made the difficult decision to not move forward with the proposed co-operative housing project. It is not the first sustainable, resident-led project that didn’t get off the ground; on our website we also share the story of proposed GreenAcre Ecovillage in Wellard. Here are five important lessons that I have learnt from lost opportunities such as these.
We regretfully inform you that the City of Fremantle has decided not to proceed with the Quarry St Co-operative Housing opportunity. Their decision has removed the chance of creating perpetually affordable housing for owner occupiers in Fremantle. The decision, and most importantly the handling of the Expression of Interest and Tender process by the City of Freo, is perplexing, and leaves much to answer for.
The Institute for Sustainable Futures at UTS conducted a 12-month research project into cohousing for seniors, examining the opportunities presented by cohousing for seniors in NSW, the existing barriers to uptake, and ideas for overcoming these barriers.
The project at Lowry St in Shelly passed a major hurdle recently: DA approval for the front dwelling! Anita, the land owner, is excited about progressing to the next steps focussing on getting construction underway, obviously sooner rather than later. We’re currently getting quotes from builders and looking at proceeding with survey strata process, creating opportunity for two parties to purchase land & house package in this very desirable location, and be part of this exciting project and little community.
On Saturday 15 July a large group of people gathered in the Darlington Hall to listen to and discuss co-operative housing in the Perth Hills. We are experiencing growing interest in more community oriented, sustainable and affordable housing, also in this area. With two to three opportunities in Greenmount it was a good time to get together and gauge interest in concrete sites and projects. The response was overwhelming, nearly 90 people rsvp-ed and 50-60 came along on a cold, rainy winters day.
Late June I had the privilege of going on a cohousing journey to and with a great bunch of people in Albany. It was a full on weekend, with a professional development workshop at the City of Albany, Sundowner and even an ABC radio interview on the Friday, and workshops on both Saturday and Sunday. Below is the wrap up written by the Cohousing Albany Group.
There was much excitement when late last year when the City of Fremantle announced an opportunity for a co-operative housing project on 7 Quarry St in Fremantle. It was an opportunity we had been waiting on and working towards for some time. The three information sessions our group held were each booked out, demonstrating great interest in sustainable, affordable and community living.
But you may be thinking that it’s gone awfully quiet since then and wonder what’s going on? Particularly if you do not receive our newsletter updates (make sure you subscribe!) Anyway, time for an update/overview of what’s been happening with Quarry St these past 8 to 9 months.
In April 2017, the Gardening Australia show included a segment on “A Thriving Community“, featuring Genesis by The Green Swing. It is where I live.
Of course for a gardening show, the focus was on the open and green spaces that are such an important element of our suburban community.
These open and green spaces include our individual private courtyards, but, in co-housing style, most of the open and garden spaces are shared. We have productive gardens at the rear with fruit trees, a couple of raised garden beds and of course the shed. At the front of the development are native gardens; we also re-vegetated the verges. And then of course we showed Josh the community sump garden which Josh planted the seed for in early 2010.
An entire village of earthships sounds like a dream, but it nearly became reality in a small village in the eastern part of The Netherlands called Olst. Twelve of the 24 buildings have tyre walls, filled with rammed earth, supporting the roof. The other 12 buildings are built with a wood frame supporting the roof and straw bale walls.
When I heard about the project I was of course curious to see what it looked like and, being aware of the many challenges earthship projects face, was interested to find out how they did it.
During a visit to The Netherlands I had the opportunity to visit and speak with two of the founders.
This article by Eugenie Stockmann on Social capital and housing was published in ‘Thinking Allowed’ in the Fremantle Herald in October 2016.
NO MATTER how much one saves by not brunching on avocado toast, house affordability is an issue Western Australians will be dealing with for a long time. With median house prices in Perth over $500,000, good news has come from the City of Fremantle, which is encouraging a cooperative venture for self-designed and built housing.
A 1477sqm site at 7 Quarry Street will be a showcase for an innovative development that provides a diversity of housing options with positive sustainability outcomes. Because it is to be designed and built under owners’ guidance, there is no developer’s margin – usually around 20 per cent of total cost – so the project can deliver more affordable housing.
In May this year I was fortunate to visit Iewan, the largest straw bale social housing project in The Netherlands. My in-laws had sent me a flyer about the project some time ago. I stuck it on the wall in my home office. What inspired me was not just that it was largely built with straw, or that it was a social and affordable housing project, but that it was partly built by future residents and a large number of volunteers.
Iewan is a housing co-operative in the Netherlands consisting of 24 apartments, each with their own kitchen and bathroom. There are homes for single and two person households, and also homes for group living and families.
The Fremantle Council has announced the introduction of a Baugruppen demonstration project.
The idea is based on a German model of housing development, allowing buyers to bypass developers and create tailor-made apartments. The council is selling off 7 Quarry Street in Fremantle, a 1,477-square-metre block close to Fremantle Park and the central shopping district and next door to a child care centre.
The council is seeking Expressions of Interest from groups of prospective buyers who want to collectively build without the involvement of property developers or real estate agents to show their interest.