Anette Høite Hansen
Øster Farigmagsgade 5, 1353 København K, CSS - Bygning 33, Opgang M, Building: 33.1.03
In my PhD project I explore the everyday life in different Danish sustainable cohousing communities and examine in which ways the community influence the pro-environmental behavior of the residents. With the study, I aim at contributing to recent insights in social science studies of pro-environmental behaviour that –contrary to previous focus on the role and responsibility of the individual - consider the collective dimension to be of great importance.
Cohousing is a broad term that covers many different ways of living. Common for the term is that families of one or several persons live next to each other in a defined community. In addition, cohousing varies in size, profile, vision and geography. Whereas some are situated in Danish towns or lager cities, others are built in the countryside. Some are decided senior communities while others are inhabited by families with small children, who buy a house for the first time.
My PhD project focuses on three cohousing communities that are all inhabited by a combination of families with children, single people, and seniors. They are situated in the countryside and suburbs of respectively Copenhagen and Aarhus. And while two of the cohousing communities are members of the Danish Eco-village Association (LØS) and have organic farms attached, the third consists of terraced houses and a smaller outside area. Common for the three cohousing communities is the fact that their vision grounds consider environmental and climate matters in terms of building, waste, transport and cooking, besides exchange and sharing of things, as crucial. However, what appears most important is the social foundation of the cohousing communities in terms of neighborliness, the daily communal eating and the ‘everyday community life’. In continuation hereof, I am interested in looking closer into the relationship and mutual significance between environmental focus and collectivity. Hence, I will – through my fieldwork in the three Danish sustainable cohousing communities – examine how a sustainable lifestyle – environmentally and socially – is articulated and practiced by the settlers.
Focusing on family life, I furthermore look closer into how the settlers in the cohousing communities balance their private lives and the neighborliness in the communities and I ask, whether or not an environmental focus plays a role in the pathway to ‘the good’ everyday life. Additionally, I follow people who grew up in the three cohousing communities, and examine how they carry on the ‘sustainability norms’ they were brought up with.
The study is part of the research project COMPASS – Collective Movements and Pathways to Sustainable – that explore collective movements and the making of environmental norms. The project is a collaboration between the Department of Anthropology and the Department of Political Science as well as ten partners within the areas of food- and waste reduction, food cooperatives and co-housing. Read more about the COMPASS-project through the following link: www.compass.ku.dk
COMPASS is funded by the Velux Foundations.