Co-housing project ‘like New Zealand used to be’

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People from “all different walks of life” are investing in a new way of housing in Dunedin, a spokeswoman says.

The High St co-housing project, run by Urban Cohousing provide more than 60 residents with shared spaces and 22 units when it opens in 2019, property shareholder Patricia McLean said.

The scheme would open in one go as passivhaus sustainable building worked in such a way that the entire complex was built in steps, meaning all the walls and floors were done at one time, she said.

All but two of the 4-bedroom units had been bought.

The past few months had been “really full-on” because Urban Cohousing Otepoti Ltd, the group behind the project, was made up of the residents who would eventually live at the site.

While the term “not-for-profit business” was a “bit of a contradiction of terms”, money needed to be invested in the project for the bank to be comfortable with the initiative, she said.

The High St project included people from “all different walks of life” all working together on the project, Dr McLean said.

“It’s been really amazing doing everything as we go along.”

It was likely to be the second co-housing community in New Zealand to be completed, alongside West Auckland’s Earthsong, which was established in 1995.

She said the project was being used as an example of alternative housing, as people downsized their homes for a complex with both private and communal spaces.

The High St project would enable people to have smaller carbon footprints and also be much more social.

“It’s a little bit like what New Zealand used to be like.”
An open day to farewell the former High St School site will be held on Sunday between 1.30pm and 3.30pm.

The activities are designed to appeal to the youngest through to teens and adults, including virtual reality headsets, a bouncy castle, obstacle course, and taking a ride in a retro Otago Heritage Bus Company bus.

Construction on the co-housing site, on the corner of High and Alva Sts, will begin later this year.