Pinakarri

Hamilton Hill, Western Australia

Pinakarri is an intentional non-profit cohousing cooperative of around two dozen people. In the language of the Nyangamurta Aboriginal people, Pinakarri means “deep listening”. Residents are committed to a more socially, environmentally and economically sustainable way of living.

Categories: Cohousing; Cooperatives

 

About the project

 

Pinakarri is an intentional non-profit cohousing cooperative of around two dozen people. In the language of the Nyangamurta Aboriginal people, Pinakarri means “deep listening”. Residents are committed to a more socially, environmentally and economically sustainable way of living.

 

The community occupies 12 houses and shares a Common House, with a kitchen and dining area, office, meeting room, small guest room and laundry. It is located on a 3,000m2 block where there were formerly four houses.

 

The self-contained houses use passive solar design and favour vibrant earthy colours. Each house has a small North-facing private garden. Many have low-profile, semi-permeable fences designed to allow a mixture of separateness and engagement with the surrounding community. Rainwater is collected in the winter and is used to flush toilets. Car access is restricted to the periphery.

 

The central Common House and firepit are at the heart of Pinakarri. They provide a space for residents to converge and socialise.

 

The community

 

Pinakarri was formed in 1991 by a group of diverse people with a common dream. They were mainly parents (mostly women) looking for a more socially sustainable way to raise their children. After more than 8 years of coming together as a community, involving both enjoyable social times and a lot of hard work, suitable land was finally found and purchased. The building was completed and the founding tenants took up residence in 1999.

 

The current residents and associated community are diverse, including parents, teachers, bus drivers, students, musicians, artists, social workers, scientists, sustainability consultants, facilitators, filmmakers, carers, computer nerds and kids.

 

Visitors are common: tradespeople, friends, relatives, supporters, WWOOFers and other guests from all over the world, TAFE students, tour groups, kids coming over to play, friends coming for dinner and adult children returning for a visit to a place they very much still think of as 'home'.

 

One of the houses is designed for a disabled resident who needs 24-hour care.

 

Project snapshot
What is shared?
How did it happen?
Legalities

Governance

The shared space has tree-shaded lawns fed by a greywater system; an organic vegie garden with some fruit trees; a community laundry; the Common House and the fire circle. The Common House contains a meeting room, an office and a tiny guest room for visitors. Residents cook and share meals two or three times a week, often eating round the communal fire. Tools, appliances and transport are also shared.

Pinakarri was made possible by a $1 million Federal Government grant to construct eight rental homes and the Common House on HomesWest (state government) land. Those that could afford to buy land and build their own houses developed four strata titled properties adjacent to the chosen site. Others have since bought and moved nearby to join in.

Pinakarri contains eight community housing properties, where rental is set at 25% of income. The other four houses are privately-owned under strata title. Membership of Pinakarri is open to anyone who is attracted to what it offers and is the starting point for becoming a resident if a vacancy becomes available.

Pinakarri operates on a consensus model for making major decisions at its monthly business meetings, which address practical management issues. The community also holds a monthly “Pinakarri”, otherwise known as a "Heart Circle," where participants have the opportunity for uninterrupted sharing "from the heart" on topical and personal issues. This is an important step towards conflict resolution.

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