Cohousing - social impacts and major implementation challenges
Local social networks are in decline, and housing is growing increasingly expensive. These are but a few of the current challenges in the field of housing. One possible solution is cohousing projects: these form local communities, create affordable housing, and contribute to a sustainable economy. Nevertheless, diffusion of cohousing remains slow. Transforming the housing sector is possible only as part of a larger political or social movement. This paper builds on outcomes of the TransNIK project which analysed sustain able innovations in the fields of energy, water and housing. The focus here is on innovative cohousing initiatives contributing to a supportive environment for seniors and families and providing social mixing and rent reduction in the long term. The case study of four multi-generation and two 50plus projects through document analysis, interviews, expert workshops and a survey has highlighted social benefits, economic and ecologic above-standard-solutions, but has also demonstrated that the implementation of such projects is full of preconditions. The implementation rate of cohousing projects shows little dynamics. Therefore, a systematic presentation of success factors, barriers and difficulties to transformation processes is given. However, cohousing projects are dependent on support, and there are indications that politics and sections of the housing industry are gradually becoming more open to these ideas. In addition, we are witnessing the slow growth of a consulting infrastructure.