WIT Press

Homes For The Future – Accommodating One-person Households The Sustainable Way


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WIT Press


J. Williams


Recent growth in one-person households in the UK has led the government to seek more sustainable housing models for accommodating them. Cohousing could provide one option. However, cohousing has been relatively unsuccessful in the UK so far. This paper sets out to prove that cohousing is sustainable and that it also has the potential to be a popular housing form amongst one-person households. It goes on to explore how development of cohousing communities could be encouraged in the future through a more proactive planning system. Keywords: sustainable housing, one-person households, pro-active planning, cohousing. 1 Introduction Ever since the release of the 1996-based UK household projections, the question of how best to accommodate the growth in small households and one-person households in particular has been a key planning issue. The issue is not simply one of accommodation, but of sustainability. UK Government guidance now calls for new residential developments to be environmentally and socially sustainable, for domestic resource consumption and waste to be reduced, and for local communities to be re-invigorated. Thus accommodation for one-person households would ideally encourage lower levels of resource consumption and waste production and greater local social capital. Resource consumption in particular appears to be an issue for smaller households. According to a growing body of research, increases in domestic consumption of space (land), energy, materials, packaging, and goods and the production of waste are linked with an increase in small households (Table 1). Thus an increase in one-person


sustainable housing, one-person households, pro-active planning, cohousing.