Vancouver project touts shared living

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 3:35:22 PDT PM

 Lorne Mallin Photo
Lorne Mallin Photo

It’s certainly a different way of living. At the East 33rd co-housing complex Lorne Mallin plans to move into next year, residential agreements require each unit owner to prepare community meals every so often.

The units are smaller than the typical apartment suite. Many lack in-suite laundry services, guestrooms or other amenities that some might consider crucial to living an isolated apartment life.

However, living in a co-housing arrangement is supposed to be anything but solitary, Mallin said.

The retired journalist is one of 26 unit owners who’ve invested over the past several years in creating a development company with the intention that the developers are the ones to occupy the units after construction’s completed. The project just broke ground Tuesday.

In the co-housing project, common areas are emphasized by the presence of a 5,500-square-foot shared building containing everything from kids’ play areas to shared office spaces, and even a yoga studio. Rules, or community agreements, all stress social interaction.

“It’s a perfect combination of privacy and community,” Mallin said.

“You can be just as private as you want to be, but you’re surrounded by like-minded people who want to live in a close-knit neighbourhood feeling.”

Decisions such as strata bylaws are made by consensus after the entire housing community — a mix of young families and seniors — has had its say, he said.

“That’s the way co-housing works,” Mallin said. Members of the community are delegated tasks — the intention is that each is responsible for something, whether that’s cleaning common areas, legal services, marketing, garden maintenance and more.

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