ESRC Seminar Series: Collaborative Housing and Community Resilience

Welcome to Collaborative Housing and Community Resilience, a knowledge exchange site developed in the UK out of an ESRC sponsored seminar series of the same name.


This seminar series reflects collaboration between the UK Cohousing Network and six UK universities; Lancaster, Leeds, London School of Economics, Newcastle (principal applicant), Nottingham, and Sheffield involving a seven-strong steering group:


Expertise of our Associate Members

This year we are recruiting Associate Members to UKCN.  These members have knowledge and skills that cohousing groups may be seeking and have agreed to have their various talents made public on this website.  UKCN is neither recommending nor not recommending but giving you access to people who probably can help you out.


What is cohousing?

Springhill cohousing in Stroud

Cohousing is a way of living which brings individuals and families together in groups to share common aims and activities while also enjoying their own self-contained accommodation and personal space.

Cohousing communities are a means of compensating for the alienating effects of modern life where neighbours don't recognise each other and where day-to-day collaboration is minimal. They offer particular benefits for children in terms of secure play-space and shared activities with their peers. Older people can also find companionship and mutual support in such communities.

The main features of cohousing communities are:

  • They are set up and run by their members for mutual benefit
  • Members are consciously committed to living as a community
  • Developments are designed to encourage social contact and a sense of neighbourhood among members.
  • Common space facilitates shared activities like community meals and other amenities like laundries, heating systems, guest rooms, transport, etc may be shared

Cohousing in the UK

There is a rapidly-growing UK interest in cohousing - take a look at our map of UK projects. There are an increasing number of groups seeking sites and many individuals seeking a group to join. There are ten fully-established cohousing communities in the UK, some having started up in the late 60s and established by 1970 before the word 'cohousing' was in use: Postlip in the Cotswolds, the Community Project, in Laughton near Lewes, Thundercliffe Grange near Rotherham, Trelay Farm in Cornwall, Canon Frome in Wiltshire, Springhill in Stroud, and the Threshold Centre in Dorset. Smaller cohousing schemes include Stroud Co-flats, Frankleigh co-flats and The Courtyards near Bradford upon Avon. All are based on owner-occupation, although the Stroud community has three shared ownership units. It is difficult to pin down the exact number of groups as they are constantly in flux. We estimate there are 25 - 30 forming groups currently functioning, with another tier of up to 60 loose coalitions interested in cohousing.

To find out more:

The UK Cohousing Network website is a repository of information from many people. When reading an article, note whether it has an author beneath the title. If it does, that piece is the author's own views. This site hopes to encourage the sharing of as many viewpoints as possible so we can support each other in developing cohousing. But note that only un-named articles can be attributed to the UK Cohousing Network.

Springhill photo © Alexander Caminada.

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LoCo Cohousing Group Newsletter

Follow the progress of the LoCo Cohousing Group by signing up to their Newsletter:

Coho Lunctime Webinar: 'Burning Souls' drop-in support session for people at the frontline of developing a cohousing project

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Date & Time: 
Fri, 14-11-2014

Between 12pm - 1pm


It can be a lonely and daunting job pioneering a cohousing/community led housing project. Let's create a regular drop in peer support session. We promise to bring along to each session an experienced activist to help sooth your woes and give shape to your dreams!


Lilac interview with Transition Network

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Paul Chatterton from Lilac cohousing in Leeds talks to Transition Network about how Lilac came about. He also explains his thoughts on the current housing model in the UK and how cohousing has great potential to help with providing housing and communities. Both a recorded interview and transcript available here.

Government announces local authority custom build vanguards

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Local Authorities are already required to 'identify and meet the needs' of people seeking to self build under the Localism Act 2012. The Coalition Government has since announced the intention to introduce a new Right to Build requiring local authorities to provide a serviced plot for self builders (backed by a £150 million support fund for local authorities and £30 million Custom Build (loan) Fund).

Custom Build Serviced Plot Fund- Exp's of Interest sought 30/09/14 deadline

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The lovely people at the HCA are seeking expressions of interest for the new Custom Build Serviced Plot Fund – snappy title, i know. While you tongue twist this latest initiative title, there are a few details below about why it might be relevant for cohousing groups:


The prospectus and criteria for applications and eligible expenditure can be found here.

Lancaster Cohousing wins at Observer Ethical Awards 2014

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Lancaster Cohousing has swooped up yet another national award winning the Oberver 2014 Ethical Award in the Community Energy Category.


Big congratulations from UKCN to everyone at Lancaster Cohousing.


Read here for more information in this weeks Oberver news article covering the awards and runner ups ( great new picture of the common house as well).

New £525m Builders Finance Fund Launched

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The Department for Communities and Local Government, and the Homes and Community Agency, have launched the new £525 million Builders Finance Fund, which is designed to help restart and speed up housing developments between 15 and 250 units that have slowed down or stalled.
It aims to address the difficulties in accessing development finance faced by some house builders, particularly smaller developers, and to help bring forward stalled but viable sites.


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