We had a chance to visit Lancaster cohousing scheme at February for our housing course. The project is at rural bank of the River Lune and 3 miles from Lancaster. This field trip gave me an excellent feeling of people sharing living style.
People’s living focus on sharing there. They shared kitchen, café, playing room, guest room, facilities and also management team. Our trip there started at the building, Halton Mill. It is a place for business and community facilities. People could have their workshops and office there. Also they place their heating, water and electricity system also woodchip there. It looks like a shared working space for this scheme.
After we went through the common working mill, there is a common pedestrian street between a terrace housing and a long shared building. This building contains food shop, laundry room, tool room, guest room, bike room and their private mail boxes there. There is no staff at the shared food shop, people just get their food and leave money there. There is a semi-outdoor place for mail boxes and management working sheets out of shop. There are lots of planting tools including shovel, bucket etc. you could find what you need at the tool room. Also there are different size of bikes for ladies, men and children. People could use washing machines at the shared laundry room. It is really helpful that people could leave and get left-off clothing there. And children play together in the playing room with lots of sharing plaything.
In the middle of the living terraces, there is a common house which is mainly for dining and kitchen. They could prepare their meal there using sharing kitchen utensils. There are several tables, sofa and also some outdoor tables for café and eating. People enjoy communicating and sharing their life experience.
As for their private houses, they use wall insulation materials to keep houses warm and soundproof glass to stop the river song. Houses along the river have an outdoor balcony to enjoy sunshine and river view.
The Lancaster scheme is an exemplification of cohousing which has a clear common definition of what people could share with others in living. People there feel they are not alone and part of a family. This kind of housing type is beneficial for social integration and cohesion.