About the project
Murundaka Cohousing Community is a rental cooperative that has been designed as a ‘classic’ cohousing development. The name is a Wurundjeri word meaning ‘a place to stay; to live’.
Built in 2011, across what was previously 3 house blocks in suburban Melbourne, it consists of two 3-storey apartment blocks arranged around a large central common house. Each block has nine fully self-contained apartments, ranging in size from 1 bedroom to 4 bedrooms.
The common house has a commercial scale kitchen and large living space. There are three guest rooms, a shared bathroom, shared laundry and a library/TV room. The outdoor area contains a BBQ space, garden and chicken run, all of which are shared.
Murundaka is a member of the Common Equity Housing (CEHL) program, an all rental, social housing program. Rents are tied to household income, which provides residents with security of tenure.
At any time 35-40 people live in the community, with a diverse mix of singles, couples, sole parents, families with children and older people whose kids have left home (and some who’ve come back again!). The community has regular shared meals in the common house, as well as gardening working days.
The community has a vision to live in a socially and environmentally sustainable manner, and emphasises collaboration with the wider community as well as between the cohousing residents. To support this vision, the community aims to give all residents training on living in a cooperative and a cohousing community when they move in, along with conflict resolution training. They also have established processes for dealing with conflicts internally and then externally if not resolved.
Murundaka is active in holding events to demonstrate cohousing to the wider community, and hosting guests or Help Exchange visitors.
What is shared?
How did it happen?
In addition to the shared space in the common house and outdoor areas, there is also a room set up as a resource reuse and recycling room. A large solar system is shared by the community, and some of the residents have arranged car sharing between themselves. The community also has a growing number have electric bikes.
Some of the founders had been longstanding members of the Earth Housing Cooperative, with an interest in cohousing. They saw cohousing as a way to create community and enable a more sustainable way of living. Earth Co-op first discussed a cohousing project with CEH in 2005. When land next-door to an existing CEH house became available, some of the founders were able to convince CEH to finance a cooperative cohousing development. The original plan was to create a mixed-equity development with both owners and renters, however the all-rental model was preferable to CEH at the time of development.
Murundaka is legally structured as a self-governing all-rental housing cooperative. All members are directors of the Earth Common Equity Rental Cooperative, one of 110 coops in the program managed by CEH. All residents pay rent to the housing cooperative. They have secure, long-term, affordable, cooperative housing and live in a collaborative, collocated community.
Murundaka has two legal entities: the self-governing Common Equity Rental Cooperative, Earth, that decides on all matters relating to the cooperative; and Murundaka Cohousing Community Association Inc that deals with all non co-op cohousing community activities. Both entities use consensus decision-making based on a modified form of sociocracy.