Sharing-Based Co-Housing Categorization: A Structural Overview of the Terms and Characteristics Used in Urban Co-Housing
By Annamaria Babos, Melinda Benko, Annamaria Orban, Julianna Szabo, in Építés – Építészettudomány journal (published in August 2020)
The European urban areas are growing fast, with many contemporary housing forms, among which is also different co-housing forms.
These housing forms are analysed in a number of publications, without a common terminology of this interdisciplinary research field. This study, based on the overview of existing definitions and characteristics, introduces a comprehensive sharing based categorization that could be valuable for these projects. The researchers believe that the social dimension of sharing methods would not exist without the physical ones, because in co-housing the shared space is the basic criteria. "The physical-architectural sharing methods and social aspects (fields of sharing like creation, tenure, and activities) are strongly interrelated and are interdependent."
During the analysis, it became clear for researchers that different fields and levels of sharing appear in the used sub-terms that connect them.
Collaborative housing definition: “Collaborative housing is a variety of projects that establish high levels of long-term participative relationships, not only amongst their residents but also between these and a wide range of external stakeholders."
Collective living/Co-living definition: “Collective living is a residential structure that accommodates three or more biologically unrelated people” usually in one apartment.
Collective self-build housing: “Housing arranged by groups for their own use; individuals typically commission the construction of a new house from a builder, contractor or package company or, in a modest number of cases, physically build a house for themselves.
Collective self-help housing definition: “Bringing empty or derelict properties back into use through renovation by community projects, often involving property acquired by the local authority from the private sector.”
Communal housing definition: “Communal housing means housing for nonfamily groups with a common kitchen and dining facilities but without medical, psychiatric or other care.”
Commune definition: “Commune is a group of families or individuals living together and sharing possessions and responsibilities.”
Community-led housing definition: “Community-led housing is a housing project that are focused mostly on affordable homes for the benefit of the local community, either individually or in co-operation with a builder or other local housing provider… The community group will take a long-term formal role in the ownership, stewardship or management of the homes."
Condominium definition: “Condominium means, where the owner owns his or her unit in fee simple absolute and shares and undivided interest in the common elements (for example, sidewalks, hallways, pools, clubhouse, storage place) as a tenant in condominium owner.”
Cooperative housing definition: “Cooperative Housing is an association of people (co-operators), which cooperatively owns and manages apartments and common areas. Individual members own shares in the cooperative and pay rent which entitles them to occupy an apartment as if they were owners and to have equal access to the common areas.”
Eco-district definition: “Eco-district is an urban development aiming to integrate the objectives of sustainable development and focusing on energy, the environment, and social life.”
Eco-villages definition: “An ecovillage is an intentional, traditional or urban community that is consciously designed through locally owned participatory processes in all four dimensions of sustainability (social, culture, ecology, and economy) to regenerate social and natural environments."
Gated communities: “Gated communities are walled or fenced housing developments, to which public access is restricted, characterized by legal agreements which tie the residents to a common code of conduct and (usually) collective responsibility for management.”
Intentional community definition: “A planned residential community, designed to have a high degree of social cohesion and teamwork; members typically hold a common social, political, religious, or spiritual vision.”
The team regrouped various types of co-housing based on the social dimension (shared activities, shared creation, and shared tenure), suggesting that in the future research one uses the classification that "measurably classifies the sharing methods that appear in each project."
Keywords: co-housing, cohousing, urban housing, collective housing, housing classification, housing categorization, participation, field of sharing, social sharing