When communities and future residents are at the centre of housing development and management, their creativity and inherent interest in long term value helps achieve more successful, more affordable places for us all.
Community-led housing shares the following principles:
- A requirement that meaningful community engagement and consent occurs throughout the process. The community does not necessarily have to initiate and manage the development process, or build the homes themselves, though many do.
- The local community group or organisation owns, manages or stewards the homes and in a manner of their choosing.
- A requirement that the benefits to the local area and/or specified community must be clearly defined and legally protected in perpetuity.
There are various forms of community-led housing such as cohousing, housing cooperatives, community land trusts (CLTs), self-help housing etc. The precise model can be tailored to each case. Bringing a determined and enthusiastic group of people together is as important as any theoretical model.
Community-led housing brings the benefits of:
- increased diversity of housing for the future, alongside private developers or housing associations.
- increased supply, where a community leading a new scheme can help through planning, and even allow development on sites that would otherwise be undevelopable.
- a unique understanding of what works for a particular site or particular group of people, especially in terms of affordability or older people.
- a greater sense of ownership and a more stable and supportive environment, as residents get to know each other, remain in the area, and look after it, contributing to healthier and happier places;
- increased confidence and empowerment for residents, with influence over their housing and realising a common endeavour.