We met Hanne, who lives with her dog in the senior cohousing project Egebakken in Nødebo. This project was initiated in 2000 by five elderly couples. They didn’t want to stay in their big villa’s and decided they wanted to be good neighbors and take a bit more care of each other.
In the project 29 individual houses and one community house were built on a site of 23.000 m2. The houses have three sizes: small (105 m2) , medium (125m2) and large (150m2). To be able to live here one has to be over 55 years old and is not allowed to have kids living at home . Egebakken is a well-organized small society. An activity group, a technical group and a care group organize a lot of things ranging from theater visits to snow cleaning the streets.
The houses were designed by Vandkunsten, an architectural firm that is very experienced in (co) housing projects. The house are very spacious. The living rooms have high ceilings and some high windows that bring in light into the living area. The inhabitants were able to design their own flour plan.
Hanne’s house is on the edge, she overlooks the woods. She is very happy in Egebakken. She moved in with her husband. It took some time for her to get used to this way of living in which privacy is guaranteed, but in which she also feels a bit obliged to take part in communal life. Now her husband has died and she is much more involved.
The inhabitants of Egebakken are all well educated and prosperous. The interesting question is if a concept like this could also work for lower income groups or even mixed groups. Hanne thinks mixing social groups wouldn’t work. The difference in income would make it very hard to agree on the communal expenses and to organize activities that fit all inhabitants.
This project is part of our research ‘Grijstinten in de tussenmaat’.