Cohousing Collectives: Melbourne inner city & middle ring case studies

Cohousing Collectives: Melbourne inner city & middle ring case studies

Over the last 4 years we have been focused on townhouse projects in inner city Melbourne.

But recently we have been having more and more conversations with people who either don’t have the budget to join one of our townhouse projects or do have the budget but prefer single or double level homes versus triple or four storey dwellings.

So we wanted to understand the feasibility of small mixed typology townhouse & apartment cohousing projects in today’s market. We were also interested in exploring the idea of multi-generational living.

The key questions we wanted to answer were:

  • Is it feasible to do these kinds of projects in today’s market?
  • What sort of buildings & homes could be designed on fairly typical and common place sites?
  • How could communal spaces be incorporated into the design?
  • How big a constraint would car parking be?
  • How much would these sort of projects cost?

To answer these questions we collaborated with Pillar+Post Architects and PlaceFormSpace to develop two case studies. We selected a typical inner city site (in Northcote) and a middle ring site (in Kew) that had recently sold and developed concept designs to help inform a feasibility.

We also decided to create six personas of some hypothetical project participants:

Joe (62) & Li (64) – lawyer & doctor who are retiring ($1.1m – $1.3m budget)

Rachel (28), Chris (3) & Hanna (1) – entrepreneur & designer looking for their first home ($800k – $1m budget)

Mary Jane (55) & Peter (57) – teacher & consultant whose kids have left home ($1m – $1.2m budget)

Elsa (70) – a retired musician looking for community ($600k – $800k budget)

Susan (38), Barry (42), Lisa (5) & Lilly (7) – builder & accountant looking for a bigger space ($900k – $1.1m budget)

Lea (43) & Will (10) – a single parent ($800k – $1m budget)

Click here to read our full case study.

The key findings from our analysis were:

  • both these projects would be economically feasible in today’s market – to the extent that major bank senior debt funding could be secured at a gross realised value of $11.5k psm for the Kew project and $9k psm for the Northcote project.
  • the cost per partner for projects with significant shared communal built form space is higher than a standard townhouse project – principally because of the amount of shared space assumed and the fact that each partner needs to bear the additional cost of this.
  • local council would need to support significant car parking reductions  – without concessions the schemes would need to be modified significantly.

To find out more about the case study and our future cohousing collectives Get in Touch by completing the form below.

To review the PlaceFormSpace Northcote inner city case study click here

To review the Pillar+Post Architecture Kew middle ring case study click here