Brougham Street Cohousing holds these core values:
- A Care Mindset
- A Culture of Connection
- A Lightness of Being
- A Commitment to Stewardship
- A Spirit of Authenticity
- A Courageous Heart
- Creating a space where everyone knows that their voice is worthy and their input is valid; cultivating a space where everyone feels like they belong.
- Respecting the nuances and differences between people, cultures, and identities, with a non-judgemental attitude.
- Having a willingness to learn, grow, and become informed about difference; cultivating a culture of appreciation and informed behaviour towards each other.
- Choosing to remember that we're on the same team creating a common vision.
- Holding compassion for each others circumstances and choosing kindness and respect in communication with each other.
- Being aware of power dynamics, and self-reflecting on our own intersections of privilege.
- Holding a space of fairness and equity for all in our group.
- Choose discussion and discourse over reaction, resentment, and blame.
- Trusting each other and believing that others have the community best intentions in heart.
- Leaning into forgiveness and recognising that we are all doing the best we can can with what we have.
- Leaning in during discomfort and conflict.
- Learning and listening to each other with curiosity and a non-judgemental ear.
- Spending time together celebrating each other, showing support, and sharing daily joyful moments.
- Cultivating a space of belonging and safety.
- Having patience and trusting in the process.
- Bringing lightness, play, and joy into daily life and community activity.
- Celebrating ourselves, each other, and the earth.
- Welcoming flexibilty and play even in serious situations.
- Inviting each other into joy and play, making it accessible and welcoming for all.
- Caring over and maintaining land, ecology, community, and relationships.
- Committing to caring for the land through sustainable practices and ecological awareness.
- Learning and educating ourselves to respond appropriately to the land and community we are in stewardship of.
- Holding ourselves accountable to these commitments and having personal responsibility.
- “The daily practice of letting go of who we think we're supposed to be and embracing who we are... the choice to show up and be real.” - Brene Brown
- Willingness for self inquiry, vulnerability, and talking about difficult things.
- Celebrating each others true selves; fostering safety for self expression.
- Being willing to share uncomfortable truths, being willing to be honest about our needs.
- Embracing newness and difference.
- Being able to admit when we don’t know, don’t understand, or when we are feeling vulnerable.
- Being willing to hold ourselves and each other accountable to our group agreements, and visions.
How we started
Australia’s interest in cohousing has been steadily increasing over recent years. It has proven to be a successful balm to increasingly isolated societies across the world, and speaks to the growing awareness and need around affordable and environmentally low impact living.
Before we were Brougham Street Cohousing, our project was created to respond to these issues in a suburban setting. The original idea came from Ben with support from his mum, Sue, then quickly joined by Simon and a group of mutual friends.
After many years of interest in the concept of cohousing and village life Ben read Creating Cohousing: Building Sustainable Communities by Charles Durrett. This introduced him to the Danish model of cohousing. What was a dream was beginning to feel like it could become a reality. The original small group started regular meetings and in a relatively short amount of time they had a core group of people driving the project.
After some research we came across the team at Property Collectives Australia who provide a proven legal structure and property development expertise. Now we had a project and began to recruit. It was our good fortune thanks to the eagle eye of Tim Riley from Property Collectives that we found our beautiful block in Brougham Street Eltham soon after that the Joint Venture was created.
In April 2022 our land acquisition was complete, and a group of very excited members and JV’ers met for our first community gathering to celebrate our new property.
What is cohousing?
Cohousing is an approach to living that places community and connection at the heart of development, design, and life. Cohousing brings people together to create a neighbourhood focused on fostering connections between people. There are hundreds of cohousing communities across the world, and each one is different, but they all share the vision of people living together. In all of them there are both private and shared spaces, and some communities put emphasis on one of those more than the other.
Brougham Street Cohousing is a community of people who value the benefits of intergenerational living, shared community spaces, and of choosing a more sustainable approach to life. If you want to know more about our shared values please see our Values.
There are hundreds of cohousing communities across the world, and although each one is different they all share a similar vision of people living together. They all have both private and shared spaces, and some communities put emphasis on one of those more than the other.
At Brougham Street Cohousing we are creating a balance between personal space (our own homes) and communal space (common areas, shared resources, shared time).
Governance and Decision making
A community needs to make choices, agree actions and manage disputes when they arise. How we interact, how we make decisions, how we approach and heal conflict is important to the life of a resilient and joyful community.
The Brougham Street Cohousing community is in the fortunate position of experiencing choices, actions and disputes as we handle the design, development, financial and legal decisions we need to make. We are still developing these integral areas of community, and are exploring the many options together.
In general, and where possible, our community decision-making process aims for consent of all members. Where this is not possible decisions will go to vote. It takes longer, but everyone is heard, and generally the decision is not finalised if it is unacceptable to any community member.