How did a group of ordinary, extraordinary people turn a bold vision into thirty-two eco-homes in a flourishing community? What can we learn from their experience to create new housing that supports us to be good neighbours to each other and to the earth?
In Cohousing for Life, Robin Allison describes her journey from lonely mother-of-two in the suburbs to determined driver of the development of New Zealand’s first cohousing community. It is a very personal story of a collective endeavour, a heroic journey of despair and triumph, as the obstacles mount and success at times feels far from certain.
“Rarely comes our way a manual for a better life which has the power of transformation. This book is a triumph – a vision fulfilled and a community created. An absorbing read.” Sir Bob Harvey (former Mayor of Waitakere City)
Cohousing for LIfe is also a distillation of what has been learnt: from formulating an inspiring vision, to community governance and decision-making; from community design principles to participatory design processes; from legal and financial structures to reflections on power and leadership. Robin details the key elements and structures that were critical to achieving their goal, allowing a group of diverse individuals with ordinary lives and skills to work together over many years to create a large, innovative, housing development.
The book is divided into 15 chapters, alternating between the story and the key themes. The 7 theme chapters end with a summary of key ideas, while highlighted boxes and diagrams outline principles. Together with dispersed photos throughout, it offers informative practical guidance distilled from a collective experience.
“…Today, the Global Ecovillage Network reaches out to over 6000 sustainable communities such as Earthsong. This is no longer an isolated phenomenon. Be inspired by Robin’s seemingly ordinary, extraordinary story to transform your own life – and help chart a pathway to a regenerative future for all of us.”
— Kosha Anja Joubert, former Executive Director, Global Ecovillage Network
Here you can read a review about the book by Megan Rule of South Pacific Architecture Ltd.“Robin’s book is a great combination of personal story and practical details.
Anyone interested in building cohousing or ecovillages will find useful specifics as well as inspiration. As we feel overwhelmed about climate change’s impacts, it is a good reminder of what a small group of persistent ordinary people can do to make a difference.” Kathryn (Katie) McCamant, Cohousing author, architect, and developer, Cohousing Solutions.
About the author:
Robin Allison was born and educated in Auckland. She qualified with a degree in architecture from the University of Auckland in 1987 and had her own practise in sustainable architecture for many years, while raising two boys as a sole parent. Earthsong remains Robin’s home, from where she now writes, teaches and consults to inspire and support thriving, connected communities. Her workshops and seminars on cohousing have been a catalyst for groups all over New Zealand – from Whangarei to Dunedin and New Plymouth to Hawkes Bay – to start working on their own projects.