Melissa Fernández discusses alternative housing in a New Statesman’s special issue about Croydon

Melissa Fernández discusses alternative housing in a New Statesman piece titled Time for Change by Guy Clapperton. The piece is part of a special issue addressing regeneration and housing in Croydon, as well as the social alternative options available, such as co-housing, in which residents participate and help design their neighbourhood in a collaborative manner, as well as eco-alternatives and affordable alternatives that aren’t necessarily social.

Here is a brief snippet of the piece:

“Fernández Arrigoitia and her colleagues have done most work on the co-housing model. In the UK there are about 18 co- housing groups, with ve of them in formation in London. One of those ve, the Older Women’s Co-Housing scheme (, is currently being built in Barnet. “What has worked for them, and what seems to be working for a second group that is located in Muswell Hill, is their partnership with a housing associa- tion as their developer,” she said.

“Until now, only small groups of friends with a lot of capital have got off the ground, Fernández Arrigoitia says. Frank- ly, you need a fair bit of money to have a say in the design of your home, so the need for a partner is obvious.

““Hanover Housing Association wanted to be the pioneer in housing for older peo- ple. It got involved six years ago and it has been very much a learning experience for the group and for the housing association. It’s been very slow.” It is worth mention- ing that although she refers to “older” people, some residents in the OWCH scheme are as young as their mid- fties. This isn’t a retirement home alternative.

“The gestation has been long. Two or three years ago, she would have said Han- over would have been a major developer of this sort of housing; given the costs since then, she wouldn’t be surprised if it was rethinking. In another group analysed by the LSE, only nine out of 33 units were going to fall into the “affordable housing” bracket because it has to be sustainable.”


The full special issue can be accessed here.

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