Ireland is currently experiencing a housing crisis. The most recent figures from Focus
Ireland show a record total of more than 8,000 people homeless in Ireland. At the same
time, hundreds of thousands of homes are in negative equity and many are in difficulty
paying their mortgages. When examining alternative solutions to the housing crisis, one of
the models that is growing in popularity in Europe and around the world is cohousing.
Cohousing initiatives are intentional communities who co-own, plan and manage their
buildings collaboratively, and share facilities as well as activities. The growing popularity of
cohousing initiatives is part of the emerging collaborative economy, which favours more
sustainable housing solutions, with a lower carbon footprint, often associated with shared
transportation, community food growing, sharing tools and equipment, as well as
knowledge and skills, and also sharing working and leisure spaces.
In recent years, the umbrella term ‘collaborative economy’ (sometimes also called the
sharing economy) has continuously grown in popularity and focuses on sharing,
exchanging and collaborating both within communities and at a wider level. Enabled by
digital platform technologies, the collaborative economy allows households, individuals,
businesses, governments and non-government organisations to engage in collaborative
production, distribution and consumption of goods, services and experiences. The aim of
this research is to gain a deeper understanding of this phenomenon from the angle of
potential benefits and challenges of alternative housing solutions, and to explore the role
that Information and Communication Technologies could play as enabler of such
solutions. Two case studies with interested stakeholders will be undertaken and a digital
platform for facilitating the creation and maintenance of a knowledge base regarding cohousing
in Ireland will be developed.The platform will also offer support for networking and
self-organisation for individuals and families interested in co-housing solutions in Ireland.
Website: Coming soon!
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