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.

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.

cultivate.ie, www.thevillage.ie

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: www.cotaticohousing.org

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

cityxchange.eu, adaptivegovernancelab.wordpress.com

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:

Public meeting: Exploring alternative housing solutions

We are delighted to announce that the Collaborative Housing Limerick group will be holding a public meeting at The Urban Coop on the Ballysimon Road, Limerick, (see map below) on the 24th of January from 6pm to 8pm. This ticketed event is free of charge, but tickets must be obtained from the Eventbrite page.  This public meeting is set to be an interesting and informative event, with speakers ranging from our own group members to architects and developers invested in creating a more sustainable living environment in Ireland. Following this event, our group hopes to organise a ‘vision workshop’, which will also be open to the public. The aim of this vision workshop is to determine the direction of the Collaborative Housing Limerick group as we move forward in developing a collaborative housing proposal for Limerick. The workshop date and location is, as of yet, TBC.