Co-housing, sustainable urban development and governance: An introduction

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


Co-housing is often lauded as an alternative housing form offering a more socially, ecologically and economically sustainable way of living. This book takes its departure in the need for a critical exploration of co-housing in the context of sustainable urban development, beyond the normative approach that often characterizes co-housing research. Based on a four-year research project involving in-depth studies of co-housing in and around major cities in Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Spain, the empirical and theoretical contributions presented in the book explore how co-housing developments can be understood and contextualized in urban sustainability discourses and policies in Europe today. The introductory chapter outlines the analytical and contextual framework of the book. After a brief description of the definitions used and the research approach taken, the chapter introduces a discussion on the discourse of sustainable development, to frame the ‘sustainability problems’ that co-housing is perceived to solve. Analytically, it is found relevant to distinguish between two contextual dimensions of co-housing: (1) urban civil society; and (2) urban governance. These contextual dimensions, in turn, are argued to relate to two key facets of co-housing, as recurring themes throughout the book: revolving around forms of community, and forms of autonomy.


External organisations
  • Department of Sociology and Work Science, Gothenburg University
  • KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Human Geography
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary Co-housing in Europe
Subtitle of host publicationTowards Sustainable Cities?
EditorsPernilla Hagbert, Henrik Gutzon Larsen, Håkan Thörn, Cathrin Wasshede
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-429-45017-4
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-32591-3
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication categoryResearch

Related projects

Claes Caldenby, Henrik Gutzon Larsen, Håkan Thörn & Cathrin Wasshede


Project: Research

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