Dreaming up a great place to live
We have decided on a layout (pdf) for the site.
The essence of cohousing is sharing, and this needs to be reflected in the design. So at the heart of the site there’s a ‘common house’. We’ll use this for:
- (at least some) shared meals and cooking
- meetings (maybe including occasional ‘community centre’ type events)
- play space
- guest rooms
- a laundry
- a workshop
Rather than carve up the outside space into private gardens, we want most of this to be communal: play space, food growing space, plenty of trees, winding paths – and maybe a pond or summer house.
Our private homes will be arranged in a terrace facing Roundhay Road and Barrack Road and will have enhanced sound insulation. This will provide a barrier to the noise and pollution of these busy roads, and a bit of peace and quiet in our shared back garden.
We want our new home to have as low a carbon footprint as possible within the constraints of our budget. And that applies to all the energy associated with the construction, as well.
We’ll be making the most of solar gain, insulating to a high standard and minimising accidental air leaks. We’re taking advice from the experts on:
- solar thermal
- ground source, air source, community heating etc
- rainwater harvesting
This is likely to be a difficult decision. We’d like to minimise the number of cars on site, and will certainly be providing CarClub cars as an alternative to private car ownership. However, we recognise that – for some – there is no realistic alternative to owning a car, either because of disability, the nature of their employment or a number of other reasons.
There is likely to be a tension between our green aspirations and the need to be able to welcome visitors from out of town – not to mention parking requirements that the planners may impose.
The bottom line is that we will need to find imaginative ways to prevent all our potential green and growing space being covered in tarmac.
Here is a sneak peek of what we are hoping our houses will look like: