Growing older together
Collaborative living is revolutionising housing in Australia.
The vast majority of older people in Australia live in their own homes throughout their retirement. However, as people age they may face declining health or other living challenges, forcing them to rely on expensive and inflexible forms of housing.
A global collaborative housing movement is looking to give those people more options, and a new initiative based on UTS research will help.
Collaborative housing is revolutionising the way homes are designed, built, lived in and valued. Popular in Europe and the United States, it encourages participation, sharing and community-building, while recognising that every household wants privacy, security and financial autonomy.
Older people in collaborative housing can lead independent and socially fulfilling lives in their communities at an affordable cost, but most people don’t know where to start.
A new web-based Collaborative Housing Guide aims to change that. It helps older people – and others stymied by housing challenges such as renters and first-home buyers – to learn about collaborative housing, find the type that works for them, and make it happen.
The guide is based on research by the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) and is supported by funding from the NSW Government.
Collaborative housing is a global movement that is just starting to take off in Australia, according to lead author Professor Chris Riedy.
Our hope is that this web guide will kickstart the collaborative housing movement in Australia and help to address housing affordability, sustainability and connectedness.
Professor Chris Riedy
Institute for Sustainable Futures
“We found collaborative housing can help older people to stay in a community they love, in a supportive environment that will provide them with social interaction and greater access to services as they age,” Professor Reidy says.
“Residents often get involved in design of the property, share some facilities and resources, and collaborate on managing the property.
“Our web guide identifies seven different types of collaborative housing that allows people to choose whether they want to share a little or a lot.”
The web guide introduces collaborative housing, takes people through how it works and how to get started, and offers detailed advice for those that are trying to make it happen. It is illustrated with 15 Australian examples, including:
- Two housing cooperatives that have developed a property for older people from the Vietnamese community in Canley Vale, Sydney
- A new development by IRT near Wollongong that will bring the cohousing model to retirement living
- Nightingale 1 in Melbourne, designed by Breathe Architecture, which involved future residents in the design of the 20-apartment building
- The AGEncy Project, a group of Inner West residents in Sydney who are aiming to develop their own community-led collaborative housing to meet their needs as they grow older
- Balmain Pair in Sydney, designed by Benn+Penna, which redeveloped two adjacent terraces to accommodate multiple generations of a family
“Our hope is that this web guide will kickstart the collaborative housing movement in Australia and help to address housing affordability, sustainability and connectedness,” says Professor Riedy.
View the Collaborative Housing Guide at www.collaborativehousing.org.au.