Cohousing, a future option? Investigating the social resources of cohousing residents.

Ella Cadee

Studenteropgave: Kandidatprojekt

Abstrakt

This Master thesis research focuses on the social resources of residents in cohousing communities in Trekroner, Roskilde Municipality and looks at their openness to and interaction with surrounding neighbourhoods and broader society. I do this in collaboration with the cohousing developer Almenr.
From the perspective of governance and city planning cohousing communities can be seen as a potential because of high levels of social resources that are seen to exist in these communities, but these communities can also be argued to increase socio-spatial segregation, further empowering the privileged. It is this tension that I examine in this thesis by looking at the social resources of cohousing residents. Social resources can be seen as a long-term value to both residents and the municipality, because of their positive link to health and well-being, and thus they are arguably a reason for investing in the mainstreaming of cohousing more generally. However, there is no data on the social resources of cohousing residents, and, furthermore, the term is vague and open to many different interpretations. This research, therefore, aims to answer the questions: Which form do social resources take? How does the social life of cohousing in Trekroner influence the social resources of its residents? And how does a cohousing community share its social resources with broader society?
I research this by looking closely at the everyday life practices that make up the social space of three cohousing communities in Trekroner, Roskilde Municipality. I observe everyday lived practices by joining the cooking team, and communal dinners. In total, I cook 10 communal dinners and talk to almost 50 different people during this process about life in a cohousing community. I also conduct 10 more in-depth interviews and survey 65 residents. This allows me to look at the inner dynamics of social actions and relationships of both individuals and the collective, and thereby, I get to observe the active production of social resources. The fieldwork serves as the basis for conceptualising about the social resources of cohousing residents, instead of starting from predefined terms and concepts.
I found that there is an increased production and reproduction of social resources in the three cohousing communities. Furthermore, since residents know roughly 75-100 neighbours, they have access to a lot more social resources than they would in a traditional Danish neighbourhood. The sharing of social resources happens in less obvious ways than the physical openness of the community.
Social resource production also leads to social resource reproduction, which is seen to happen unequally in the Trekroner area. From looking closely at the production of social resources, it becomes apparent that social resource production (and reproduction) is hard work. They can not be expected to lift residents who have less social resources, and therefore cohousing communities have to be socially homogeneous. This is a paradox because it is precisely this that produces space unevenly in the Trekroner area.

UddannelserSpatial Design and Society, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
SprogEngelsk
Udgivelsesdato3 jun. 2019
Antal sider59
VejledereMikkel Bille

Emneord

  • cohousing
  • social resources
  • social connectivity
  • city planning