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Alternative Communities in Aotearoa, New Zealand: The Cohousing Lifestyle

In this research, I aimed to explore the benefits and challenges of living in a cohousing community, as a form of intentional community. I also aimed to investigate the impact of intentional design on the experience of living within the cohousing model of community. Information was gathered from fourteen residents of Earthsong Eco-Neighbourhood, both current and past, via interviews. The analysis revealed that the lifestyle within cohousing communities produced a positive experience of collective living, accompanied by specific benefits and challenges, as expressed by residents of Earthsong. The primary benefits of living in cohousing included social connection/support, shared facilities and responsibilities, and environmental design. The associated challenges included the management of interpersonal relationships, community decision-making, and practicality of design features. The unique design of cohousing influenced social, economic, and environmental aspects of day to day living. This impacted the experience of living in cohousing as residents consciously engaged in sustainable living practices. In support of theoretical explanations of intentional community, residents of Earthsong expressed positive experiences of living in cohousing. They believed that the environment was supportive, cooperative, and enjoyable. The community design was seen to impact the experience of cohousing as the focus placed on social connections allowed for the sharing of support and resources. In turn, a safe and cohesive neighbourhood made day to day life easier and enjoyable for residents of Earthsong. This study highlighted the social, economic, and environmental benefits and challenges of intentional community design.
Type of thesis
Dod, A. (2013). Alternative Communities in Aotearoa, New Zealand: The Cohousing Lifestyle (Thesis, Master of Applied Psychology (MAppPsy)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/7962
University of Waikato
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