No matter what your current situation in life, it is always important to remember that we are none of us alone. Sustainability begins at home. But co-operation and collaboration are, of course, key to creating a better future. But how exactly can co-operation bring us closer to the way of life we want to live and the society we want to see? Co-housing is one simple and obvious example:
Going in with others when it comes to where you live is one interesting option to consider. We are where we are because we bought our current property along with a couple of members of my husband’s family. We have separate spaces, but share certain resources in common.
Multi-generational living can bring a range of benefits, but even if you do not wish to live with family, or do not have that option, it might be possible to consider going in with friends, or joining like-minded people in an intentional community or co-housing scheme.
Co-housing is a little different to living communally. In a commune, people traditionally have very enmeshed lives, and there may be little privacy or autonomy. Co-housing is a way to work collaboratively without giving up on traditional nuclear family ideas. It can often be the best of both worlds.
In co-housing schemes, the lives of those in the community can be separate or enmeshed to various degrees. In my own situation, we currently live in one big house (much larger than anything we could have afforded separately). But in the end, we will essentially be neighbours – living in an adjoining stone barn that we are in the process of converting. But with a few communal spaces and land shared between our three households, and the continued benefits of shared costs and shared resources.
Rethinking the individual nuclear family home can be a great solution for many people. If you are considering co-housing, please get in touch. I’d be happy to share more details of our situation and the lessons we have learned.