One of the rewards for taking on the early, pioneering work to establish a cohousing community is that you get the opportunity to make an input to the design of your own home. We have reached the stage where individual households are, with the help of a PTEa architect, personalising their future environments within reasonable limits. Do I want this wall there? Can I have a shower rather than a bath tub? How is the cat going to get in and out through a thick Passivhaus wall?
Getting to grips with these practical issues gives a comforting sense of ‘getting there’ at last, even though move-in is some time away still. When we have these things settled, we will move on to common areas of interest like ‘how will we make the most of the common house?’ or ‘what do we all understand by neighbourliness and how do we envisage its day-to-day expression?’
Once the design practicalities are settled, the legal agreements signed, the real work of cohousing begins – building ourselves into a cohesive, friendly, supportive group that maintains a satisfactory balance between personal self-sufficiency and communal activities. Our group is steadily growing and individual members are gradually identifying areas of work where they may contribute their skills and experience. In the process, we are slowly getting to know each other better, which is the point of cohousing.