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Saving space, sharing time: integrated infrastructures of daily life in cohousing

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Helen Jarvis



This paper explores the concept of collective housing, notably the North American model of purpose-built cohousing, to understand better the functions of space and time at the neglected scale of collective (colocated) interhousehold collaboration. The defining features of this form of intentional community typically include the clustering of smaller-than-average private residences to maximise shared open spaces for social interaction; common facilities for shared daily use; and consensus-based collective self-governance. This paper critically examines the infrastructures of daily life which evolve from, and ease, collective activity and the shared occupation of space. Discussion draws on observations from eight communities in the UK and USA, using selected ethnographic vignettes to illustrate a variety of alternative temporalities which coincide with a shifting and blurring of privatised dwelling. The resulting analysis exposes multiple temporal scales and innovative uses and meanings of time and space. The paper concludes by speculating on the contemporary significance of collective living arrangements and the role this might play in future sustainability.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jarvis H

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environment and Planning A

Year: 2011

Volume: 43

Issue: 3

Pages: 560-577

Date deposited: 03/05/2011

ISSN (print): 0308-518X

ISSN (electronic): 1472-3409

Publisher: Pion Ltd.


DOI: 10.1068/a43296


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