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UK's First Cohousing Community for Women Wins World Habitat Award


New Ground, the co-housing scheme co-designed by PTE and its residents, has won a World Habitat Award.

The mixed-tenure community and homes for women aged 50 and over - the first of its kind in the UK - was given the prestigious, UN-backed housing award in recognition of its ground-breaking model of community living. The annual World Habitat contest was established in 1985 by the British-based Building and Social Housing Foundation to identify innovative and sustainable housing solutions worldwide.

Conceived and managed by its residents, New Ground, which opened its doors in 2017, provides a welcoming, safe and thoughtfully-designed environment for older women seeking independence, social connection, and a sense of belonging. The community features 25 flats, including eight lower cost rental homes, providing affordable and accessible housing options for 26 women of various backgrounds and circumstances.

David Ireland, CEO of World Habitat said: ‘New Ground addresses a significant global issue of housing for older adults that does not marginalise, de-skill and devalue them. It has set a precedent in the UK and is a useful model for replication globally.’

Charlotte, a resident of New Ground said: “Cohousing doesn't suit everyone, but it works for me…believe me you get so much in return - community, a sense of purpose, security and friendship. It is the best thing I have ever done.”

The citation for the Bronze World Habitat Award said that ‘New Ground embodies the essence of cohousing, a collaborative living arrangement that fosters meaningful interactions and collective well-being. Residents actively participate in decision-making processes, creating a sense of ownership and shared responsibility.’

Every year between eight and twelve projects that demonstrate exceptional work in providing or promoting access to adequate housing are shortlisted and presented to a panel of external judges, including the executive director of UN-HABITAT, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme. Two projects then become Gold winners and the remaining either Silver or Bronze winners.

Patrick Devlin, PTE’s partner in charge of New Ground, said: ‘A Bronze World Habitat Award speaks to the transformative power of community and co-design and the potential for this model to address the growing need for age-friendly homes.’

Gold awards went to a citizens rights programme in Indonesia and a low-cost Dutch retrofitting scheme.


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Evolution is usually better than revolution