Eco Villages Australia sponsors collaborating housing projects.
A well designed village creates the right balance of togetherness and privacy. Share housing is a sub-par version of collaborative housing as standard housing is designed for mum, dad, two kids and a dog - when in reality, many people live - or want to live, quite differently. Clustering housing is the most ecologically responsible method of village design.
Collaborative Housing Models
Some examples and models of collaborative housing are below:
Co-housing started in Denmark in the 1970's, where today, around 30% of the Danish population live in co-housing arrangements.
“Everyone wants community in their life, but we tend to want the privacy that we’re used to having.… [co-housing] is very different to any commune or anything from the past, in that it really values independence, but at the same time, cooperation and community." Laura Finch - Architect
Co-housing is defined by some key differences. 1) the unique design, which intentionally designs for interaction 2) the centre of the village is car-free, walkable human-scale spaces - cars are relegated to the extremities of the living spaces and 3) co-housing is resident-controlled. The people who live there are the ones who take responsibility for the community - they are their own landlords.
The central common house is normally built first and has a shared kitchen, dining/lounge area, laundry and other facilities as the community requires. A number of dwellings are placed around the centre house.
Tiny House Village
As tiny houses become more common, many people can see the virtue in bringing a few tiny homes together, and build shared kitchens, gardens and dams. Government legislation currently makes this type of project very difficult, as laws currently lean heavily toward developers and large houses on small blocks. Expect a lot of council resistance, money and 10 years of lobbying for this type of collaborative housing, as you would need to change the material use of land into a 'manufactured housing estate', or caravan park. It highly unlikely that your neighbours would be favourable to this, and so they can stop this development, even though these developments would make an excellent community.
As housing is generally built for 'mum, dad, two kids and a dog', the simplest way forward is often a share housing as an intentional community. There are many cool share houses in capital cities, but the land ownership model means that they sit in a precarious and non-sustainable way. These properties could be sold, and the community dissolved at any time. Our land ownership model means that share houses can be also put into collective stewardship. Some share houses could be retrofitted to rooming accomodation or a mini co-housing or co-living environment.
Decision Making Model
As all Eco Village Australia communities are collaborative housing projects, they will all have participatory decision making. Whether it's sociocracy, consent, consensus, or a hybrid or your own model, each community will meet weekly to make these decisions.
A community based on respect, honours all voices and has a transparent decision-making process, which is key to a healthy community. Each community will make it's own decisions about daily life; that's the whole point - to empower groups to be who they want to be.
The Native Americans said it well: “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together”.
Sometimes participatory decision-making is long and difficult, but it’s ultimately the best way for a group to "go far”.
Residents will be trained in consensus decision-making/sociocracy as part of the 'Community Living Course'.
Collaborative housing requires a higher level of communication than usual. There are many useful tools out there. Sometimes tools even get in the way of real communication. Your communities choice of communication and conflict models is up to you.
We encourage you to look at Non Violent Communication (NVC), sometimes called 'Compassionate Communication'.
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