CoHousing Café in Dublin – 12 Oct 2019


Saturday 12th October 2019


12 – 4pm


School of Architecture, Linen Hall, TU Dublin, Henrietta Place, Dublin 1

The ‘Cohousing Café’ is an event title borrowed from Europe, where cities hold regular events for citizens to help the development of self-organised housing projects.

This is an open networking and information event where you can learn and share information about cohousing, hear from experts and existing groups, and get involved in a project yourself.

There will be talks from pioneering Irish cohousing groups, an exhibition of selected cohousing projects abroad, and representations from relevant organisations. (via

CoHousing Café Cork, 21 Sept 2019

The “Cohousing Cafe” is an event title borrowed from Europe, where cities hold regular events for citizens to help the development of self-organised housing projects.

This is an open networking and information event where you can learn and share information about cohousing, hear from experts and existing groups, and get involved in a project yourself.

There will be talks from pioneering Irish cohousing groups, an exhibition of selected cohousing projects abroad, and representations from relevant organisations.

This event is hosted by SOA Research in cooperation with CCAE (Cork Centre for Architectural Education).

Kim O’Shea will present the Collaborative Housing Limerick group.

CoHousing Here! conference

Join us for CoHousing Here , taking place in Dublin on 14 and 15 June 2019!

Bringing together innovators, policymakers and activists it challenges us to think about participative design, innovative home and community building, democratic urban planning, and agency for residents in the creation of their homes.

CoHousing Here aims to inform the Irish public in regard to alternative, socially and environmentally sustainable housing models, which encourage and facilitate diversity, adaptability and community development. CoHousing Here is designed to inspire Irish people as to the possibilities for participating in and contributing to high quality diverse urban neighbourhoods, as well as the potential for self-organised development.

The Cohousing Café is coming to Limerick!

After a very successful run in Dublin on the 23rd of February 2019, Cohousing Café is coming to Limerick. Organised by SOA and Collaborative Housing Limerick and hosted by Fab Lab Limerick, the Cohousing Café promises to be an exciting half day event where everybody interested in building, community, legal and financial aspects of cohousing is welcome to share their expertise and learn from the others. Beside invited speakers, we will have an exhibition on display, workshops and  networking sessions. Tea, coffee and a light lunch will be available.

Everybody is welcome, but please register in advance on Eventbrite so that we can get an idea of the numbers!


Attending the Cohousing Café organised by SOA in Dublin

A few of us went up to Dublin on February 23rd 2019 to attend the Cohousing Café organised by SOA Research at the DIT School of Architecture in Dublin.

The programme included talks, workshops and an exhibition:

Gabriela Avram and Kim O’Shea were invited to open the series of presentations. Here are the slides we used.

A few highlights are included in the March SOA Newsletter. Sign up if you are interested! The Self Organised Architecture (SOA) Research group shared a printed Zine on the day. A digital version can be downloaded from here.

And here are some of our photos from the day!

In attendance were representatives of various initiative groups from around the country:

  • Common Ground Bray
  • Build Group Dublin
  • Older Women’s Cohousing Group
  • Celbridge Co-op

More photos here – taken by Paul McGinty, the official Photographer of the event!


What happened at the February workshop

We had around 30 attendees on the night. Again, our hosts, The Urban Coop, were absolutely fantastic, helping with the setup, the water and the cozy atmosphere. And we managed to do our shopping while there!

We started with a presentation on cohousing and the previous steps for creating a cohousing community in Limerick, given by Lindsay Mitchell.

Next, Kim O’Shea, PhD student at he University of Limerick focusing on cohousing, distributed a questionnaire based on the onesharedhouse2030 ideas that the participants filled out.

Then we moved to the visioning part of the workshop. The facilitator (Gabriela Avram), asked the participants to close their eyes for 2 minutes and imagine the following:
“It is 2020 and you are in your home in the new Limerick Collaborative Housing complex.  What does it look like? What is happening? Who is around? How did you get there? Who helped?   What challenges did you overcome? What do you want in the common spaces?”

Next, the participants tried to answer to particular themes displayed on posters around the room with post-its. The main themes included were:

    • How we made it happen
    • What challenges we overcame
    • Private / personal spaces
    • Shared spaces
    • Transport
    • Location
    • Meetings and gatherings
    • Tenure and legal framework e.g. ownership and rental
    • Finance and funding models
    • My neighbours
It was interesting to see that the interest in cooking and eating together was quite low, while the interest in a common garden was almost unanimous.
Next, Kim showed slides from a few cohousing schemes such as Blahojen, LILAC and a few others, as fuel for dreams  in the next exercise.
Ray O’Brien presented some data collected regarding building costs.
The following session, titled “Let’s find our future neighbours!”, saw groups of participants assessing the resources they could contribute and negotiating features of the future cohousing scheme. After 20 minutes of working in groups, we shared our impressions in the plenary and discussed what happened.

At the end, Gabriela Avram announced the Cohousing Cafe organised by SOA Research on 23 February 2019 in Dublin, and the date of the next meeting of the Limerick Collaborative Housing group – 23 March 2019, 11am , at the Absolute Hotel.

Developing Our Collaborative Housing Vision

Following our first public meeting on 24 January, we are planning a workshop for discussing and developing a vision for future Limerick collaborative housing projects. This vision will be translated into a document we will use for presenting our project to the local authorities.
In preparation for the event, we invite you to take this survey devised by SPACE10: It will help you think about the many different types of cohousing, issues and opportunities.

The event is open to anybody and free, but registration via Eventbrite is required.

Date and time: Thu, February 21, 2019, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM GMT

Venue: The Urban Co-op, 8 Ballysimon Road, Limerick

January Public Meeting: What Happened

Exploring Alternative Housing Solutions: Collaborative Housing

Thursday, 24 January 2019, 6-8pm

Welcome address by Deirdre McMahon, The Urban Coop.

Round 1

1. Davie Philip, Cloughjordan CoHousing, Cultivate Living and Learning: Housing Ourselves -Community-led approaches.,

Bio: Davie Philip has spent the last 22 years actively promoting the ideas of sustainable communities in Ireland. He is a founding member of Sustainable Projects Ireland, the company behind the ecovillage project in Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary where he is now based. Davie hosts events and facilitates groups working on collaborative approaches to help their localities flourish through the Resilience Lab at Cultivate Living and Learning, a co-operative that he co-founded with Ben Whelan in 2000.

2. Kim O’Shea, Interaction Design Centre, UL: The Lived Experience: A Field Trip to Aarhus

Bio: Kim O’Shea is a second year PhD student in the University of Limerick. She is studying the cohousing movement and aims to create a resource to allow collaborative housing action groups in Ireland to collaborate, and share knowledge and experiences.

3. Hugh Brennan, Ó Cualann Co-housing Alliance: Affordable Housing – (It’s NOT) a complex issue

Bio: Hugh Brennan co-founded Ó Cualann Co-housing Alliance with William Black in 2014. Hugh had studied Civil/Structural Engineering in DIT Bolton St., has 30 experience years in construction including 10 years on housing and sanitation in South Africa & in Haiti. Ó Cualann “Building communities – not just houses” has developed a model for integrated, cooperative, affordable homes, privately funded, that can be replicated and scaled around the country.

4. Sonja Graf : It Takes a Village: Growing up in Community

Cotati Cohousing:

Bio: Sonja Graf  has lived in intentional community since she was a young child. Growing up in Northern California, her family participated in the development of a successful cohousing community which was established in 2003. She has since then spent two years in Lebensgarten Ecovillage in Germany, where her parents still live, and at the age of sixteen she moved to Auroville, an intentional community in southern India. She is now completing her MA in Ethnochoreology at UL.

Discussion – 15 min


5. Sarah Newell, Limerick City&County Council: Snapshot of Housing in Limerick *the Affordability Challenge*

Bio: Sarah Newell has in excess of 13 years experience in urban and regional planning. With qualifications in Planning, Architecture and Public Management, her work experience to date has encompassed three strands of mutually supportive work – private consultancy, semi-state and public sector service. She currently is on assignment from the Housing Agency, Dublin to Limerick City and County Council to manage and implement the Rebuilding Ireland and Limerick Regeneration programmes.

6. Rosie Webb, Limerick City&County Council: Renewal in the Historic Georgian Neighborhood,

Bio: Rosie Webb is the Senior Architect in Economic Development at Limerick City and County Council. She leads programmes of work to stimulate and consolidate the historic city centres of Limerick City, its towns and villages. She provides strategic vision and plan implementation using projects, programmes and initiatives dedicated to place-making and physical development. She is also a lecturer at the School of Architecture at University of Limerick and founder of the Adaptive Governance Lab at SAUL. Her research at the AGL focuses on testing new ways to build strong community networks for greater citizen involvement to influence the design and operation of shared public spaces.

7. Padraig Flynn, SOA Research: Learning from Berlin: Ground-Up and Top-Down approaches to CoHousing in Ireland.

Bio: Padraig Flynn is an architect and co-founder of SOA Research. SOA is a non-profit action research collaborative, formed to develop the possibilities for self-organised housing in Ireland. SOA are planning a number of events in 2019 to explore and promote the opportunities for CoHousing and Community Land Trust initiatives here.

8. Áine Nic Charthaigh and Lindsay Mitchell, Collaborative Housing Limerick group :Collaborative Housing and Limerick: Some Explorations

Bios: Áine Nic Charthaigh lives in Limerick with her dad and teenage daughter. She lived as part of the Cloughjordan eco neighbourhood for a year and is very interested in seeing collaborative housing models created in or near urban areas. She works in the field of education and is involved in climate change and sustainability projects in her daughter’s school.

Lindsay Mitchell has been interested in cohousing for a long time and has welcomed the opportunity to be part of Collaborative Housing Limerick. She came to the Limerick area from Scotland over 40 years ago and her hope is that the time is now right for the creation of one or more collaborative housing projects in Limerick. She works as a psychotherapist in Limerick City and is currently involved with a community planning group in North Clare and creative textile groups.

Discussion – 15 min

Closing remarks – Gabriela Avram

Here we are after the meeting: