Practices of shared living: Exploring environmental sustainability in UK cohousing, community living, and coliving

Clark, Penny 2021. Practices of shared living: Exploring environmental sustainability in UK cohousing, community living, and coliving. PhD thesis University of Westminster Architecture & Cities https://doi.org/10.34737/vqx42

TitlePractices of shared living: Exploring environmental sustainability in UK cohousing, community living, and coliving
TypePhD thesis
AuthorsClark, Penny
Abstract

The environmental impacts of the UK’s domestic sector must be lowered if they are to meet UK government greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) reduction targets. However, government initiatives to lower domestic GHGs have had little success, and progress has been too slow. Given this lack of top-down impetus, it is worth investigating alternative housing solutions. Previous research has shown that shared living – in which residents share spaces, resources, and social time – tends to have lower environmental impacts than the average household. However, this issue has not yet been explored within the UK. There is also research which shows that social networks can be effective in encouraging practice transitions and maintenance. This has not yet been thoroughly investigated within the context of shared living and environmental sustainability.
This research aimed to explore the practices and infrastructures which enable pro-environmental outcomes within shared living. This aim was achieved through in-depth research in six shared living case studies. The research mainly adopted an ethnographic approach, complemented by quantitative measurement of GHGs.
This research shows that the shared living case studies have significantly lower GHGs than the average UK household. This builds upon previous quantitative environmental evaluations of shared living. In studying practices, infrastructures and social networks within shared living, this research identifies four types of sharing that are significant to pro-environmental outcomes: shared ideals, shared governance, shared materials and spaces, and shared endeavour. For each type of sharing, the findings describe and analyse how processes of negotiation enable and constrain pro-environmental practices and outcomes. By exploring these processes, this research generates new knowledge on how and why shared living can produce lower-than-average domestic environmental impacts. Thus, the research demonstrates the potential and the mechanisms by which shared living may offer environmentally sustainable housing solutions for the UK.

Year2021
File
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
PublisherUniversity of Westminster
Publication dates
PublishedOct 2021
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.34737/vqx42

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