Viva presentation: Setting up structures and governance in a co-housing community

We were very fortunate at last Monday’s Viva networking meeting to have Robin Allison from Earthsong Eco-Neighbourhood in Auckland share their extensive experience in establishing their co-housing community.  It creating co-housing communities, much focus is placed on the the physical structures – the buildings, the land, the gardens, etc. – but Robin emphasised that it is also critical to have a strong foundation to the community driving the development.

Robin covered the following areas in her presentation:

  • An introduction to Earthsong Eco-Neighbourhood (which is a 32 home cohousing neighbourhood set on 1.29 hectares in the suburb of Ranui in Waitakere City, Auckland)
  • The phases of community creation
  • Membership agreements
  • Ownership structure (unit titles)
  • Consensus based decision making
  • Group structure during development
  • Development options
  • Resources

The Earthsong website outlines more of the story and contains a wealth of further resources:  earthsong.org.nz

Jürg and Jane then went on to frame many of these issues in the Viva context.  A post on that will follow soon.

Viva presentation: The potential for wood in the rebuild

Last Monday, at the latest Viva networking meeting, we were thrilled to have Jason Guiver from the wood industry talk with us about the amazing possibilities of timber, both for Viva, and for the Christchurch rebuild generally.

Nelson Pine has developed its LVL (laminated veneer lumber) product in collaboration with the engineering department at the University of Canterbury and the Structural Timber Innovation Company, STIC.  It is strong, lightweight and flexible – with twice the strength to weight ratio of steel and equivalent to concrete for compression strength – making it perfect for earthquake resilience, even in multi-storey buildings.  Wood has the added benefit of corrosion resistance in aggressive environments and good fire performance (in some cases wood is actually used to protect steel from fire, counterintuitively).  It is also inherently carbon neutral and renewable, and locally produced.

Jason went on to present some innovative local examples of uses of LVL (including curved sections) along with some international examples of construction from wood.  To underscore his point about the structural strength of wood, his final slide shows an older wooden house with half of the foundations removed by a flood, yet still standing level and structurally intact.

See Jason’s presentation here:

Viva on National Radio

On 10 March, Jane Quigley was interviewed by Chris Laidlaw on his Sunday Morning show as part of a programme looking into the case for higher density housing. Jane features in the first 12 minutes, and introduces the Viva Project and our entry into the Breathe urban village design competition with Jasmax.

Jane is also followed by Jukka Noponen a Finnish planner behind an energy-efficient housing project, Brady Nixon who is developing Auckland’s Vinegar Lane project and the Auckland Council’s urban design specialist Ludo Campbell-Reid.

You can listen via the player below, or on Radio New Zealand’s website.