Co-housing and the academy

Co-housing has inspired a range of academic research.

Among the more recent books is a 2013 volume called Sustainable Collective Housing: Policy and Practice for Multi-family Dwellings. It looks at the way in which different types of regulatory regimes make multi-family housing types more or less sustainable.

To the extent that governments want to encourage cohousing (more on this in a future post), this type of research should be helpful. Unfortunately, it’s written in the rather turgid academic style that makes me want to run screaming from the room. Here’s hoping one of my friends with more experience of academic writing may want to take a look and comment. (Hint: Hillary, that’s you.)

JSTOR, a digital repository of academic journals, lists dozens of articles and monographs related to cohousing. A few:

  • The Journal of Architecture and Planning Research devoted a special issue to cohousing in Spring 2000. It includes an overview called From Collective Housing to Cohousing: A Summary of Research.
  • What is the real character of people’s lived experience with modern cohousing? Why do people choose cohousing? Is it a form of intentional community? Is it utopian? Or is it just an attractive form of housing tenure for people who want a nice place to live with good neighbors?

    These are the questions asked by the Journal of Utopian Studies in an article entitled Second-Wave Cohousing: A Modern Utopia? Most spokespeople for cohousing in North America, it acknowledges, are pretty clear in rejecting the Utopian concept.

  • And just because you never really know what might turn up when you do a search for cohousing, here’s a fun article called Social Interaction-Mediated Lifespan Extension of Drosophila Cu/Zn Superoxide Dismutase Mutants. It says fruit flies live longer, with better motor ability and improved resistance to stress, when cohoused with other active fruit flies. So we got that going for us.
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