Cohousing is more than just a nice idea. It’s a conscious attempt to find a better way of living – better for ourselves, our neighbours, our society and our planet.
People who find fulfilment in accumulating wealth and possessions are not likely to see the point of cohousing. One of the main motivations behind those of us currently involved in Chapeltown Cohousing is the desire to be part of a genuinely caring community, where neighbours are looking out for each other and enjoying doing things together.
But it goes deeper than that
We live in a world where…
- Most people have less than £2 a day to live on
- Our own society consumes over three times its share of the planet’s resources
- Climate change threatens to destroy the lives of those who didn’t cause it
- Environmental destruction is driving a biodiversity “extinction event”
- Few politicians are prepared to question the pursuit of unending economic growth
- The global population triples in one lifetime.
It’s against that background that we’re looking for a way of living that’s more appropriate for these times. We want to live in a way that doesn’t use more than our fair share of the world’s resources – that’s characterised by sharing rather than greed, and points the way to a sustainable and fair future for all.
We want a community that’s…
- Sustainable – globally, economically and socially. We want the buildings and our lifestyles to have as low a carbon footprint as possible. But we don’t want to take on massive debts to achieve this. And we want people to enjoy living here – or else, what’s the point?
- Supportive – looking out for each other and sharing the responsibilities of keeping the show on the road. Also being generous with our time and possessions.
- Open – We don’t want to be a ghetto or walled community. We want our children to be able to play safely outside – but we don’t want to keep others out. We’d like to get to know our new neighbours in the streets around, and maybe make some of our communal facilities available to them. We don’t want to make it hard for people to join our community – and we don’t want to fall into the trap of thinking that we’ve got all the answers.
- Diverse – Despite all these values, we don’t want to end up a community of self-righteous eco-freaks. We’d like to have as much diversity as possible in background, ethnicity, education, wealth, age and belief. (And, in practice, this might be the hardest value to maintain.)