Neighbourly Love

 

Do you own a small patch of outside space in suburbia and long for a bigger space? Maybe you wish your kids could have a treehouse or a sandpit to muck around in? Perhaps you’d love that extra space to grow some vegetables? If you get on well with your neighbours then there is the potential  to create a great community  resource. Collectively you could decide to get rid of  fences which separate your properties and share some garden space and  resources. For example, garden tools, storage sheds, tree huts,etc. Through sharing part of your outside space with others everyone can get a little more of what they need. 

Want to know more? Click on this link to read an article full of suggestions for sharing  your outside space and resources with your neighbours.

For some like minded individuals the values of sharing, sustainability and supporting community development can be actioned on a daily basis  through the concept of cooperative housing. People drawn to this way of living experience a greater sense of safety, belonging, and social connectedness.

One of the  main features of co-operative  housing is homes are re-configured so their backyards flow out to a large common area. Residents still retain some private space. Shared facilities such as vegetable gardens, beehives, compost bins, tool shed, picnic tables, bike shed, laundry and a  common lounge become part of the community landscape. Social aspects often involve regular dinners and shared childminding.

In New Zealand two successful working models are The Peterborough Housing Co-operative in central Christchurch and EarthSong Eco Housing in West Auckland. The Otakaro Land Trust was formed in 1981 and owns the five houses on the land which form the Peterborough Cooperative. The residents rent their homes from the Trust and have the opportunity to become participating members of the Trust.  Residents self manage the co-operative which also involves deciding on  potential new residents.

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Eco Housing Earth Song is situated in Ranui, West Auckland  and comprises of thirty  two  homes. This Eco neighbourhood is world famous being a finalist in the 2009 World Habitat Awards and UN Habitat Awards. Earth Song residents are keen to share their knowledge about  co-housing  and sustainable living with the public and offer tours four times a year check out 

 Earth Song is super energy efficient with features such as passive solar design and solar water heating. Rainwater is collected and gravity fed for various uses within the community. Permaculture principles underpin everything from site design to edible and companion planting. Organic waste is composted by the residents and provides nourishment for the garden. There is a shared common room which has a large kitchen and dining area. Teams of residents cook meals for the village twice a week,but it is optional to attend.

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EarthSong has featured on New Zealand television, click on the following links and you will get to see  these  stunning eco homes in their surrounds.  Including  an insight as to what  motivated some of the  residents to choose  Earthsong as  their home.   

My House My Castle
Earthsong Eco  Neighbourhood