Urban Communities in the UK

Urban Communal places

Alongside the 1970s dash to communes in the country there was also a huge urban squatting movement. Over time this evolved into a substantial network of housing co-ops that involve greater or lesser degrees of sharing. The movement continues to grow with the modern development of student housing co-ops.

Large shared houses in urban areas seem to also be becoming quite popular and there is now also the interesting development of commercially developed and run “co-living” communities.

Argyle Street Housing Co-operative (CB1 3LU)

Argyle Street Housing Co-operative opened in 1981 as a “fully mutual” co-op. We take decisions through members’ meetings, with voting rights for all tenants. These are held every month (and sometimes more frequently) in our community ‘hut’. A number of smaller working groups implement the day to day management required, assisted by three part time paid workers. Individual houses have a shared living room and kitchen and their own level of communal living, though we all share communal gardens and an allotment on our 3 acre site. Our houses are in an urban environment in close proximity to the railway.…

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Auchinleck Housing Co-operative (EH6 4SG)

Auchinleck Housing Co-operative is a women’s co-op in the Newhaven area, on the north side of Edinburgh. We are currently 8 women - lesbian, bisexual and straight - ranging in age from 20s to 60s. We are an inclusive and trans/trans* friendly household. The house is a three-storey Victorian semi-detached house, with front and back gardens, two living rooms and a spare bedroom for guests. We have communal dinners cooked from organic veg boxes and produce from our garden. Decisions are made at meetings which we hold once or twice a month, the aim is to share equal responsibility for…

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Bath Street Housing Co-op (EH15 1EZ)

Greetings from the Bath Street Housing Cooperative. Our spacious 200 year old Georgian house, nestled in the quaint seaside neighbourhood of Portobello, was established as a cooperative in the early 80’s. We maintain a communal spirit, we hold monthly house meetings, and strive to live as sustainably as possible while taking responsibility for the long-term health of the house and the Cooperative. Home-made sourdough bread and cookies is a constant feature ☺

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Blackcurrent (NN1 4JQ)

Blackcurrent is based in a Victorian town house near the middle of Northampton. Some people work full time outside of the community; others work part time, and everyone volunteers as much time as they choose to the running of the Co-operative. All communal food is vegan and organic, and the house is a meat/fish/poultry free zone. We don't keep pets or livestock. We (generally) welcome visitors who would like to work with us, Ring or email before coming for our visitor information sheet.

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Brambles Housing Co-op (S3 9EH)

Brambles is a Housing Cooperative based in Sheffield that began as a Radical Routes Co-op in 1992. We share two adjacent houses in a vibrantly multicultural but economically poor area of Sheffield called Burngreave. We usually home between 6-9 members, a variety of urban wildlife and act as a stop-off point for many more folk. We have an amazing ‘Permaculture’ garden, dubbed ‘Paradise in Pitsmoor’ by one of our previous members, complete with fruit trees and bushes, vegetable beds, up cycled hot-tub, rainwater harvest system, greenhouse, community workshop, fire pit, frog pond and integrated compost system. We also have an…

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The Burrow Housing Co-op (M11 1JX)

The Burrow is a queer-centred housing co-operative in East Manchester. We moved into our permanent building, a former hostel, in 2015. It is a 13-bedroom house, home to nine adults, one child, one cat and one tortoise. Several organisations and small businesses operate from The Burrow. We regularly organise social and political events at the Burrow. To be updated on these, as well as announcements relating to the co-op, ask a member to be added to our Facebook group or Whatsapp chat.

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Carol Street Housing Co-operative (NW1 0SE)

Carol Street Housing Co-Op is a well established affordable housing project situated in Camden Town London. We are a terrace of 6 large Georgian houses with 29 tenants and 2 houses in a smaller terrace around the corner housing 6 tenants. We aim to represent our local ethnic and cultural diversity and to provide shared housing for this community. Each Co-op member has their own room and shares a kitchen, bathroom and living room with other members of the household. To be eligible, you must comply with Camden Council Housing criteria and to have lived in the London borough of…

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carol street

Corani Housing and Land Co-op Leicester (LE2 1FA)

Corani is a small housing and land cooperative established in 1978 and based in Devon and Leicester. On the edge of the town of Crediton in Devon 6 residents live in a semi-detached Georgian house bought by Corani in 2013. In Leicester two residents live in a terraced Victorian house bought by Corani in 1996. Three other members, not currently housed by Corani, live elsewhere in Leicester. The Crediton house has a large garden around it in which we grow as many fruits, vegetables and herbs as we can, whilst leaving enough space to play football with the dog. Chickens…

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Corani Housing Co-op Devon (EX17 3BU)

Corani is a small housing cooperative based in Devon. On the edge of the town of Crediton around 6 adults and one toddler live in a semi-detached Georgian house bought by Corani in 2013. The Crediton house has a large garden around it in which we grow as many fruit, vegetables and herbs as we can, whilst leaving enough space to play football with the dog. Chickens roam around the garden and we have a homemade beehive with a successful colony that produces delicious honey. We aim to live as sustainably as we can in our current situation; the Crediton…

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Cordata Co-operative (M20 3EA)

Cordata Co-operative is the first of several new co-operative house projects that enable groups of people to live in a more sustainable way in large urban houses. Cordata co-operative is in Withington in south Manchester. The house is is owned by a secondary co-operative and run by members of the co-operative house, who have complete control over who lives there, how the space is used, what it looks like. This model also allows for a complete low energy refurbishment, so we have fitted solar panels, a complete insulation envelope, rainwater collection, and other energy reducing features. Current members are a…

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Cornerstone Housing Co-operative (LS7 3HB)

Cornerstone is not so much a community as a collective of people who share the running of a housing co-op, but who have different political perspectives and focuses for their daily lives. Cornerstone has two large Victorian houses in Chapeltown, a culturally diverse part of inner-city Leeds. Both houses need a lot of ongoing maintenance, and have large gardens front and back, which we variously hang out in, tend or leave wild, attracting wildlife and producing some food (herbs, fruit and veg). One house has space for 7 members, the other for 8, and there are sometimes short and long-term…

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Coventry Peace House (CV6 5DS)

Coventry Peace House is in a multi-cultural area, 15 minutes walk from the city centre. The original six terraced houses have now been turned into two buildings which encompass living space and a cycle workshop (which is open to others) and a large community space. This is used by us and by the local community for various projects in the day and at night we use it as a night shelter for refused refugees. Other projects come and go with the inspiration, hard work and enthusiasm of members and friends. There is a large back garden and a big warm…

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Deptford Housing Co-operative (SE8 4LY)

Deptford Housing Co-operative was built in 1978 and is a fully mutual ownership co-operative with 138 residencies, mostly for single people in shared houses, but there are also some self contained houses, bedsits and flats. Seven of the properties are leasehold. The co-op has its own office, community centre, shared wireless broadband and computer facilities, car parks and attractive communal gardens. Located in the north of Lewisham, the co-operative is well placed for travel into central London. Deptford rail and DLR stations are both nearby and many buses pass along the major routes at either end of the nearby High…

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The Drive Housing Co-op (E17 3BW)

The Drive Housing Co-op owns 8 The Drive, Walthamstow. This is a 11-bedroom former childrens’ home, a detached house within a reasonably sized plot of land (for London). In summary there are three aspects to this project: - a housing co-op, which enables its members to have a say in the running of the accommodation that they live in, with no external landlord to have to deal with. For us, making decisions by consensus is at the heart of this. - an intentional community, where people live together as one household, and experiment with new ways of living more sustainably…

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Edinburgh Student Housing Co-op (EH10 4HR)

Edinburgh Student Housing Co-operative is a 106 member fully mutual co-operative, entirely self-managed by its members. Student housing co-operatives are a new phenomena in Britain, first starting in 2014, with ESHC currently the largest. Alongside being a unique experiment in communal living, the co-operative is also the city's cheapest student housing provider by a sizeable margin. The co-operative uses a participatory, consensus based model, with all major decisions being made by general meeting. ESHC also has two large communal basement spaces, regularly playing host to bands, film nights, political discussions, community groups, theatre groups and parties. The co-operative has a…

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Firelight Housing Co-op (LS6 2JG)

Firelight is a small, friendly housing co-operative in Woodhouse, Leeds.

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Fireside Housing Co-op (S3 9DN)

Fireside has a row of five mid-terrace Victorian houses in Burngreave in Sheffield. We’ve knocked our long and skinny gardens into one, giving us plenty of room to play, grow organic veg, have bonfires and parties. The gardens back onto a Victorian cemetery so there’s lots of green space and wildlife around even though we’re in an inner-city area. There’s also an adventure playground at the end of the road. The ages of the 9 adults living here range from early 20s to early 60s. We live mostly as five separate households, but we have knocked a connecting…

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Fruit Corner (BS6 6BU)

"Lord grant that I may seek to comfort than to be comforted; to understand than to be understood; to love than to be loved; for it is by forgetting self that one finds; it is by dying that one awakens to eternal life. Amen" (St Francis of Assisi) For us living in an Intentional Christian community is not only a great opportunity but in many ways life changing. Our ideal is that over a period of time the ryhthm of giving and receiving evident in community life inspires in people a more selfless existence, one where life is not so…

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Giffard Park Housing Co-op (MK14 5PA)

Giffard Park Housing Co-operative is entirely dependent on our own members for income and management and that is the responsibility you take on when you become a member. Members of a Co-op need to have a genuine desire to have control over their own housing environment, along with a willingness to become involved and take on some of the day to day responsibilities.

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Giroscope (HU3 6BH)

Giroscope set up in 1985 when a group of like minded people inspired by the writings of Colin Ward and Ivan Illich decided to take action to house themselves. The following year we set up as a workers co-operative and launched ourselves into house buying, house renovating and communal living. At the start of this year 2007, we were down to one founding member so the decision was taken to cease being a co-operative and register as a charity. We now have 25 houses providing accommodation for people in housing need in West Hull. We also own a solar powered…

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Golem Housing Co-operative (SA1 6AB)

We are a group of 7 big people and one small one who have set up a housing co-operative in Swansea. We started getting together to talk about the idea in March 2010, and have been working on it ever since. We finally got the keys to our Very Own House on 30th May 2012. We have had an offer accepted on a second house and are looking for 6 new members. It's just across the road, in a very central, urban location and 5 minutes stroll from the town centre. We have a cat (moving to the second house)…

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Green Wood Housing Co-operative (LS8 4DW)

Green Wood is a housing cooperative that bought its house in 2019. Some of the current group are the original members who formed and developed it together. We're still in the early stages, so some parts of the house are lovely and other bits of the house need some work doing to them to get things looking and feeling warm and homely. We have a 4-floored house accessed by steps at the front and back doors, with a sun-dappled kitchen-diner, garage, 6 bedrooms, plans (with funding) to convert the existing basement into a living room, and a design to join…

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Guiseppe Conlon House (N4 1BG)

We are a community of the radical Christian “Catholic Worker” movement. The Catholic Worker is an ecumenical, pacifist, and anarchist movement founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin in New York in 1933. As a community we are dedicated to living simply, in solidarity with those who are marginalised by society and in resistance to violence and injustice. The London Catholic Worker was brought together by the Jubilee Ploughshares 2000 disarmament action, in response to the need for a Catholic Worker community of hospitality and resistance in the world’s second imperial city. In June 2010 the London Catholic Worker opened…

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Gung Ho Housing Co-op (B29 7PX)

Gung Ho is a fully mutual housing co-operative. Living in a housing co-op gives us the benefits of home ownership in terms of control over our house, the ability to set our own rent, security of tenure and the lack of landlords and letting agents. Moreover, we as individuals do not have the burden of a huge debt, we are still eligible for housing benefit and we have done this without the financial barrier of raising a large deposit. Gung Ho is a member of Radical Routes, which is a UK-wide federation of housing co-ops, worker co-ops and social centres.…

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Hammerhead Housing Co-op (BS5 7JE)

We're expecting to move into our house is in the St George area of Bristol during January 2018. We are a veggie/vegan, communal house with activist interests.

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Hamwic Housing Co-op (SO17 1WF)

Hamwic Housing Co-operative has property mainly in the Portswood and Highfield area of Southampton and provides affordable rooms in shared and self-contained property to single adults with no live-in dependents, who are in housing need. Due to our size and limited resources, Hamwic cannot provide housing for people with special needs and we cannot offer any supported housing.   PASS IT ON We’re looking for a number of good-natured, committed co-operators to take our Co-op to the next level in provision of quality co-operative housing. ‘In housing need’ is a reasonably flexible term and would, for example, apply to the…

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Hargrave Road Community (N19 5SJ)

We live in a custom-built community house sharing a belief in co-operation, negotiation and understanding, to arrange how we live together. The core values of our Housing Association home are that of respect, self-help, mutual support, and participation. We currently have a very vibrant mix of people, skills and cultures from around the world. Over the years our roof has sheltered many fascinating people. We have seen the development of ethical livelihoods: www.zaytoun.org (Palestinian olive oil), www.wholewoods.co.uk (Sustainable woodland skills and events), the study of a variety of subjects from anthropology to town planning, and strong musical influences from British…

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Homeworld (MK13 7BB)

“The best way to fight evil is to make energetic progress in the good”.* People want to feel good. They want to get on with enjoying themselves and life without any hassle. People want freedom, peace, recognition and cooperation. People want fun, learning, variety and growth. Homeworld UK began in 1980, when instead of protesting about society’s ills with fellow students, a group of us decided to ‘make energetic progress in the good’ by creating a viable alternative culture that is more beneficial for human needs. We are creators; a melting pot of artists, engineers, musicians, computer geeks, designers, home…

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L’Arche Highlands (IV2 4QR)

L'Arche Inverness is part of the world-wide federation of L'Arche communities founded by Jean Vanier in 1964, that aims to build community with people with learning disabilities. Our community is based in the capital of the Scottish Highlands and consists of 5 households where community members live together; those with learning disabilities and those who come as 'assistants', sharing in every aspect of daily living: shopping, cooking, celebrating, working and praying together. We are primarily a community comprising members representing various Christian traditions. We are also happy to welcome those of other faith traditions and none. Assistants come from all…

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L’Arche Ipswich (IP1 3QU)

Our first house, The Cornerstone, opened in 2006 and is situated in a pleasant and quiet area of Ipswich near Christchurch Park about 10 minutes' walk to the centre of town. The house has spacious common areas and a large garden. There are six people with learning disabilities and six assistants living together here, with others supporting in various roles. We are creating a network of community houses in Ipswich to provide a range of facilities for people in various circumstances wishing to be a part of who we are and what we do. L'Arche is a place of encounter…

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