Living together, being apart: cohousing beating social isolation

In pandemic times, physically isolating will save lives, but it’s tending to deepen the social isolation that’s been breaking Kiwi hearts and minds. So how does cohousing fit in? Hear more in a cool talk!

Increasing loneliness in Ao-NZ is a thing, and it underscores the importance of physical “bumping into” spaces, large and small, formal and informal, for maintaining a minimal sense of being part of a community. Guest poster Bronwen Newton of Urban Habitat Collective lays it out for us – including how things work in pandemic world!

Is co-housing a solution to social isolation?  

At 136 Adelaide Road, plans have been laid for a seven storey, two building complex made up of 24 standalone apartments and shared living space.  The units are architecturally designed, perfectly angled for sun and will be home to ordinary people from all walks of life.

While the build side of the project is due to start in July, co-founder Bronwen Newton says the networks formed between the people creating it are already strong, and could be central to building resilience in modern, urban communities.  

“Community is not just a bunch of people that you like, but it is a bunch of people who have key values in common and can work together.  Who trust each other to be generous and supportive.  People you can rely on.  

Bronwen says that if the 24 unit Urban Habitat dwellers were in the complex during today’s COVID 19 crisis, there could be a careful balance between physical distancing and built-in support for vulnerable people.  

“Because we have pregnant women, older people we would have to be careful.  But because of the relationships we have built over 18 months, we could have a plan from the start to keep people safe, while maintaining the social and emotional connections everyone needs.  

“We’d need a different sort of bubble from regular households, and it would be a matter of working out what that looked like with the help of the experts,” Bronwen Newton says.

In the next few months Urban Habitat Collective begins demolition of the old Kia Ora Metal Industries site to get the build underway, and has just a couple of spaces left for families wanting a piece of co-housing. 

Join them on Facebook live to hear about the strength of community in today’s urban environment.  

3pm, Tuesday 28 April

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