COHOUSING is a type of community living together that strives to:
Build and strengthen neighbourly bonds. People practicing cohousing constitute a community of people who support one
another and jointly manage their habitat (be it a flat, a house, a neighbourhood or a group of houses). Some of the hot spots of
community integration are the kitchen, where meals for all are prepared, the living room, the kids room or the workshop. Oftentimes,
inhabitants have a similar profile of interests. They can also share the responsibility of taking care of their children or the elderly.
The idea underlying such a group is to build a coherent, well organised community where everyone is important and needed.
Taking care of the environment. The cohousing lifestyle should be centered around sustainability and ecology. Some
such places strive to become independent in terms of their energetical and economical needs (e.g. eco villages or passive house
communities). Others do what is in their power to support the natural environment (e.g. by segregating garbage, reducing their
electricity and fuel usage etc.)
Savings and comfort. By sharing the responsibility of taking care of the young ones, many parents save time and even
money they would otherwise spend on preschool, school and babysitters. What is more, parents living in a cohousing community often
choose home schooling for their children. Then, a group of parents willing to cooperate in this matter emerges
spontaneously sharing the responsibilities that go with such choice.
Thanks to group meals and shopping the community gains additional time and funds. It enables them to buy in bulk getting
attractive discounts while still providing individuals with exactly the amounts they need (COHOTO system makes
this task go smoothly). Sharing the everyday responsibility of preparing meals is also very convenient and economical. By participating
in meal preparing only a few times a month (the frequency depends on how large the group is) one can enjoy home made meals every day.
Following the "sharing economy" model, people can also share their means of transport, electrical
appliances and other goods. A great example of that is a theme community where people sharing a passion can jointly purchase equipment,
goods and services for the group. This allows them to develop their hobbies cheaper and better. If they so choose, the group can also
offer their services and products on the market as a collective.
COHOUSING TYPE OF BUILDING:
Cohousing can take the form of a jointly rented flat or a house where the group wants to experience a higher level of integration than
what is possible with typical kinds of renting. What binds them together can be a common interest (e.g. music creation, IT etc.), some
type of manufacturing or just everyday things like cooking, doing shopping and so on. A frequently occurring - although, not
obligatory - elements of cohousing are firstly, a shared space dedicated to communal activities (it can be a dining room or a living
room) and secondly, ensuring that every member of the community has their own private space.
Another form of cohousing constitutes a country-based eco community or an eco-village. The feeling of connection with one's
neighbours and ecological lifestyle are some of the fundamental building blocks of such a community. Oftentimes, its members come
together by means of working together (eg. by growing plants, manufacturing goods) and raising their children together. Most often such
groups strive to achieve economical and energetic independence which can be achieved only through good cooperation of all the community
members and their sense of common responsibility.
Cohousing type neighborhoods in their modern form have originated in Denmark. They are designed and managed by the
inhabitants themselves and the ownership is distributed among them as well. Typically, it is comprised of between 10 to 30 houses with
cars located on the outside. The infrastructure is often divided into standalone private segments and common-access functional
buildings in the central area. Every private segment consists of a living room, a bedroom, a kitchen and a bathroom. In the central
point, there is usually a building with spaces open to all inhabitants. It is typically comprised of a large room, a large kitchen, a
dining room as well as guest rooms, a kids room, a workshop and a laundry.
Coliving is a type of community living in which members share much more than in
cohousing. First of all, more space is designated for common use. In coliving communities people reside
together in one house or apartment. As a result, private space is more limited than in the case of
cohousing: it is usually just a single bedroom, not a separate apartment or a house. There are coliving
communities of which residents do not even have a private sleeping space because bedrooms are shared by
In addition to the way in which space is shared, coliving is different from cohousing in the type of
common activities pursued by residents. Such activities usually include innovative business or social
projects which are large-scale and have impact on more than just a local community. This is why it is
not enough for members of coliving communities to agree on the way in which they want to organize their
immediate neighborhood. They also need to share the vision of how they wish to change the world.
You can read more here.
COWORKING means working in the network society, a social movement aiming to create a
non-hierarchical structure of work as well as a place rented out by freelancers who do not necessarily
need to practice the same profession. Coworking spaces are characterized by a relaxed atmosphere, thanks
to which renters often start collaborating. Such cases of collaboration can be described as coworking of
people who work on a common project. One must remember that coworking communities are frequently
composed of people who have very different backgrounds. This is why the effects of their actions can be
very valuable and innovative. Coworking spaces should be organized in a way which stimulates the
creativity of its users and provides access to new technologies. As a result, people who use such spaces
can work more effectively than those in traditional office spaces and can collaborate with nearly the
entire world. Fab-labs, workshops and manufactures are great examples of coworking. Very often people sharing such
spaces use the benefits of the sharing economy concept. They equip them with additional tools and machines which they then share
bearing only a fraction of the costs.
CROWDFUNDING is the practice of funding of a project by raising contributions from a
large number of people. Funds are collected through specialized Internet platforms (such as
PolakPotrafi.pl, wspieram.to), blogs and social media.
What makes crowdfunding different from traditional fundraising is that the project initiator offers
rewards to its supporters. Rewards are defined at the launch of the crowdfunding campaign and are
distributed after the project has been successfully implemented. The purpose for which funds are
collected is clearly defined and information about this purpose is available to all Internet users.
*COFUNDING – the practice of funding of an activity by all members of a given
community. The activity is carried out by one community member and is supposed to benefit the entire
community. "Cofunding" is a new term (coined by the authors of COHOTO) and, therefore,
it is worth explaining it in more detail.
Imagine that one community member wants to become a hairdresser but does not have sufficient funds.
Other members of the community know that this person is talented and will become happy only if they
fulfill their dream. A community meeting is held and all members decides to invest in the talented
person. They buy necessary equipment, advertise this person on the Internet, help find the first
clients. It turns out that the business goes well and starts to yield profits. In accordance with the
plan adopted at the beginning of the cofunding project, some part of the profits goes to the community
and is used e.g. to fund a bathroom renovation, buy new equipment, organize a group trip, etc. In
addition to that, every community member can get haircuts free of charge. The entire community benefits
from someone who has got a chance to follow their passion.
COMMUNITY-SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE involves a group of people who purchase food directly
from a farm on a regular basis. Thanks to that, consumers save time and money, support local farms
and avoid paying multiple middlemen. What is especially beneficial about community-supported
agriculture is that it gives an opportunity to purchase ecological products from a reliable source.
Community-supported agriculture projects in Poland:
SHARING ECONOMY / COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION – economy of shared resources. People who
participate in the sharing economy first define the rules to follow and then share or exchange various
goods and services. Resources are shared directly between individuals in accordance with the principles
of the peer-to-peer model. Participants in the sharing economy may use time banks, barter, money or
other forms of social contract. Examples of the sharing economy include: cohousing, coworking,
couchsurfing, carpooling (blablacar.pl,
carpooling.pl), helping others to maintain
ecovillages, farms or houses (helpX.net, wwoof.net,
workaway.info) as well as the open source
movement and crowdfunding (PolakPotrafi.pl,
wspieram.to). This type of economy often helps to
save time and money. Because it opens up new possibilities, it is also called "the new economy."
More information is available at: