Cohousing and sustainable urban development

Research project

Project's title: Cohousing and sustainable urban development

Project's duration: 2015-2017

Contact person (Lund University):
Henrik Gutzon Larsen

Main researchers:
Cathrin Wasshede, University of Gothenburg
Claes Caldenby, Chalmers University of Technology
Henrik Gutzon Larsen, Lund University
Håkan Thörn, University of Gothenburg (project leader)

Affiliated researchers:
David Scheller, FH Potsdam
Pernilla Hagbert, KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Siri Kjellberg, Lund University


The aim of the project is to analyse what learning experiences different forms of co-housing provide for social and ecological sustainability in the context of housing policy. This will be done through case studies of co-housing in Denmark, Germany, Spain and Sweden. A part of the aim is to examine if and to what extent social and ecological sustainability may contradict and/or support each other in the practices of co-housing. Contemporary economic changes and ecological challenges provide new contexts and motives for co-housing. Climate change and other ecological concerns have increased the interest in developing modes of living that reduce the ecological footprints of everyday life. Rising estate values in cities and de-regulations of housing markets have increased dwelling costs. Moreover, the economic crisis in Europe has made it more difficult for low-income groups to afford good housing. Against this background, demands have been made for the development of forms of dwelling both socially and ecologically sustainable. Socially, co-housing has often been organized with the aim to create a sense of community (involving democratic decision-making) and gender equality by decreasing the burden of household work. Further, co-housing has in many cases meant a relatively low dwelling cost for the individual and in some cases also been organized in an economically sustainable, non-profit co-operative form.