Communal living projects moving from hippie to mainstream

The hippies could be proven right. Four decades after they introduced the commune into the industrialised society, pooling goods and saving nature’s resources, sustainability and the sharing economy are on the up. This includes co-housing - where residents have seperate bedrooms but may share kitchen and dining facilities - which is also proving to be a lucrative business model.

“It’s all about living healthy and happy lives without harming the planet,” says Sue Riddlestone, who co-founded a pioneering community of 82 low-energy, water-efficient homes called BedZED in south London more than a decade ago.

Back in 2003 healthy and happy lives with no harm to the planet sounded a bit idealistic. Indeed, before BedZed, Riddlestone and her co-founder social entrepreneur Pooran Desai had pioneered hemp textiles production, a tree reuse station and sustainable mini paper mills in London.

Then came the growing awareness of climate change, followed by the sharing economy, which in 2013 was valued at $26bn and some analysts expect can grow to $110bn. Suddenly communal living, especially of the modern kind where resources are shared but everyone has a separate apartment, looked a lot more attractive.

Read the full article at the Guardian


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