Sustainable Living and Co-Housing: Evidence from a Case Study of Eco-villages

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In this article we examine aspects of the different arguments for the environmental
advantages of co-housing compared with individual households. The analysis is
structured around four main questions, which are argued to be decisive for the
question of co-housing and sustainability. The first is whether co-housing offers
better opportunities for choosing and using more sustainable technologies, which
also relates to the question of whether co-housing offers better opportunities for
building smaller and denser and thus more energy efficient buildings. The second
and third questions are socially oriented; one relates to the claim that co-housing
can support pro-environmental behaviour among residents as they can support
each other’s norms and practices. The fourth and last claim relates to a discussion
of co-housing as a more sustainable opportunity especially for people living alone,
as the growing number of small households is an emerging sustainability problem.
The empirical analyses are based on the results from a Danish study of eco-villages
including a survey, interviews with representatives of the eco-village movement
and a detailed case study of a group of people in the process of establishing a new
cluster in an existing eco-village. The aim of the article is to contribute to the
general discussions about co-housing and sustainability. The study adds nuances to
this discussion and shows that the answer is not as straightforward as presented in
much of the literature.
TidsskriftBuilt Environment
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)413-429
Antal sider17
StatusUdgivet - jul. 2012