top of page
What is it?

Collaborative housing is a movement that’s revolutionising the way homes are designed, built, lived in and valued. It encourages participation, sharing and community-building, while recognising that every household wants privacy, security and financial autonomy.

By enabling residents to share costs and pool resources, collaborative housing can make buying or renting a home cheaper. Add this to the benefits of living in a connected, supportive community and it’s easy to see why the movement is growing!

Collaborative housing is shaped by the people who’ll live there and is specifically designed to encourage social connection and be more affordable. It’s a broad term that covers a variety of housing types, but there are a few common features:

  • It contains a mix of private and shared space – residents agree on what’s private and what’s shared, allowing them to live more affordably and build a sense of community.

  • Sharing typically extends beyond the buildings to include vehicles, equipment and resources.

  • It’s designed to encourage informal social contact, whilst also allowing for privacy.

  • Residents have formative input in design and play a significant role the ongoing management of the community, though the level of input and how things are managed will vary from project to project.

  • Residents may be extended families, a group of friends, or strangers who’ve connected because they share a common vision for where and how they want to live.

  • Collaborative housing comes in all sizes, from a few homes sharing a single block to much larger developments. By incorporating sharing, it makes more efficient use of land than comparable developments.

  • Collaborative housing can be for both owners and renters, and there are options to suit all ages and demographics.

There is a spectrum of collaborative housing, from alternative to mainstream. It entirely depends on resident preferences. At the alternative end are ‘intentional communities’ like Narara Eco Village, and at the mainstream end are examples like Nightingale or Balmain.

Although communal and intergenerational living is not a new concept, collaborative housing is a recent addition to the landscape of mainstream housing choices in Australia. It’s a movement that’s well known in northern Europe and parts of the US, and it is gathering momentum in Australia as awareness of its potential and many benefits grows.

Find out more about collaborative housing.

What is it.jpg

What is collaborative living?

Collaborative living is a new way of thinking about home, work, community and how we live our daily lives. Inspired by demographic and social change, it is also a response to rising living costs, the
housing affordability crisis, the ‘loneliness epidemic’ and the growing ecological footprint of cities.


Collaborative living is about building stronger communities by emphasising social connection and looking for beneficial ways to share resources and pool skills. The sharing economy is one example of collaborative living, collaborative housing is another.

Sanctuary magazine published an article in its Winter 2020 issue (Issue 51) exploring collaborative housing in Australia. It's worth a look if you want to learn more about collaborative housing. Thanks to Sanctuary for letting us provide a PDF here.
bottom of page