Co-housing: building community in shared space

Richard Lucas of TEDx Kazimierz in Krakow, Poland has joined our Advisory Board (thank you Richard!). He has shared this excellent TED video from 2017, featuring Grace Kim talking about co-housing, an innovative way of building community within shared space.  Richard writes:

“Greetings from Krakow, Poland – This is my first post. I was sharing information about this great project with my TED Circle this evening. with guests from Canada , Germany, Israel, India, Poland, Romania and the USA.  We were discussing Kim Grace’s thought provoking TED talk on co-housing which is a different approach to designing and living with community as a high priority. The links with the manifesto Mark drafted are obvious.”

About the talk: Loneliness doesn’t always stem from being alone. For architect Grace Kim, loneliness is a function of how socially connected we feel to the people around us — and it’s often the result of the homes we live in. She shares an age-old antidote to isolation: cohousing, a way of living where people choose to share space with their neighbors, get to know them, and look after them. Rethink your home and how you live in it with this eye-opening talk.

The 15-minute city: a new picture for urban living

The idea of a ’15-minute city’ is arriving onto the scene from several sources at the moment.  The Weekend FT published this piece by Natalie Whittle examining the idea of having everything you need within a 15 minute radius (walking or by bike) of where you live.  She reports what many people are experiencing: working from home gives a new attention to one’s immediate neighbourhood. This trend has been rapidly accelerated by the COVID pandemic, with French car giant PSA (Peugeot, Citroen, Vauxhall) moving non-production staff to permanent home working. Carlos Moreno of the Sorbonne in Paris created the idea of the 15-minute city, and is advising Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo. Paris is one city which is already experimenting with much-improved cycle routes too, which helps atmosphere and health as well as keeping a local focus. The 15-minute neighbourhood idea has also been picked up by Camden council in London, with this article in Medium. There is also another longer article on Bloomberg by Patrick Sisson.

One point made in the article is particularly relevant to Village In The City advocates and supporters.  Moreno says “we don’t want to recreate a village; we want a create a better urban organisation”. Us too.  One persistent criticism of micro-localism is that it would constrain people to a small area around their houses. Of course, this is not the case.  As cities develop, there will still be things we can’t get within our immediate neighbourhoods. I play saxophone in a big band, and I am unlikely to find a top-class group within 15 minutes walk.  However, what a great basis for a life, to know people around you, be familiar with local suppliers and meeting places, to smile and greet people in the street. Having a life in your village is not an opposite of being active on a wider scale – it’s more of a necessary counterpoint.  It balances our attention, provides a wider network of connections (including cross-generational and cross-demographic) and offers the chance of a rich life on the doorstep as well as on the train or plane.

Want to start building your village? We’re here to help.  Go to our Building Your Village page to find out more.

Village In The City is a post-COVID initiative to help you build micro-local communications and communities where YOU live.

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