Cohousing for Life


Cohousing for Life is a part memoir, part guidebook about one woman’s determined journey to develop the first cohousing community in New Zealand.


Cohousing for Life:

A practical and personal story of Earthsong Eco-Neighbourhood

In Cohousing for Life, Robin Allison describes her journey from lonely mother of two in the suburbs to determined driver of the development of the first cohousing community in New Zealand. It is a very personal story of a collective endeavour, a heroic journey of despair and triumph, as the obstacles mount and success at times feels far from certain.

Cohousing for LIfe is also a distillation of what has been learnt: from formulating an inspiring vision, to community governance and decision-making; from community design principles to participatory design processes; from legal and financial structures to reflections on power and leadership. Robin details the key elements and structures that were critical to achieving their goal, allowing a group of diverse individuals with ordinary lives and skills to work together over many years to create a large, innovative, housing development.

The book is divided into 15 chapters, alternating between the story and the key themes. The 7 theme chapters end with a summary of key ideas, while highlighted boxes and diagrams outline principles. Together with dispersed photos throughout, it offers informative practical guidance distilled from a collective experience.

Available in ebook only
ISBN: 978-0-473-51518-8
278 pages

“Robin’s book is a great combination of personal story and practical details. Anyone interested in building cohousing or ecovillages will find useful specifics as well as inspiration. As we feel overwhelmed about climate change’s impacts, it is a good reminder of what a small group of persistent ordinary people can do to make a difference.”
~Kathryn McCamant, Cohousing author, architect, and developer, Cohousing Solutions.

About the Author

Robin Allison was born and educated in Auckland. She qualified with a degree in architecture from the University of Auckland in 1987 and had her own practise in sustainable architecture for many years, while raising two boys as a sole parent. Earthsong remains Robin’s home, from where she now writes, teaches and consults to inspire and support thriving, connected communities. Her workshops and seminars on cohousing have been a catalyst for groups all over New Zealand – from Whangarei to Dunedin and New Plymouth to Hawkes Bay – to start working on their own projects.

Read more from Robin Allison


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