Design for gender equality - the history of cohousing ideas and realities

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School of Engineering | A1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä
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pp. 315-335
Built Environment, Volume 38, Number 3
Today’s development of alternative types of housing with communal spaces and shared facilities, called cohousing, has been influenced by utopian visions, practical proposals and implemented pro-jects far back in the past. This article traces the driving forces behind the various models of communitarian settlements, cooperative housekeeping, central kitchen buildings, collective housing and collaborative residential experiments while focusing specifically on the design and gender aspects of these models. An emphasis is given to feminist arguments for cohousing, as well as a discussion of the patriarchal resistance against various forms of housing and living based on equality and neighbourly cooperation. The article includes an analysis of the relief of house work burdens and of the possibility for men to be courageously domesticated through this type of housing. The main research methods comprise analyses of literature and the researchers’ own practical experiences of cohousing. The authors claim that cohousing in Scandinavian and some other countries has contributed to a more equal distribution of responsibilities for house work. However, the number of people living in cohousing is still too small to influence the gender segregation of labour markets. It is furthermore concluded that design factors, such as the quality of shared spaces, easy access to common rooms and indoor communication, are important for the smooth functioning of cohousing.
design, cohousing, gender, community
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Vestbro, Dick Urban & Horelli, Liisa. 2012. Design for gender equality - the history of cohousing ideas and realities. Built Environment. Volume 38, Number 3. pp. 315-335. DOI: 10.2148/benv.38.3.315.