Danish sustainable cohousing communities

In my anthropological PhD project I explore the everyday life in different Danish sustainable cohousing communities and examine in which ways the community influence the pro-environmental behavior of the residents. With the study, I aim at contributing to recent insights in social science studies of pro-environmental behaviour that – contrary to previous focus on the role and responsibility of the individual - consider the collective dimension to be of great importance.

A part of COMPASS

The study is part of the research project COMPASS – Collective Movements and Pathways to Sustainable – that explore collective movements and the making of environmental norms. The project is a collaboration between the Department of Anthropology and the Department of Political Science as well as ten partners within the areas of food- and waste reduction, food cooperatives and co-housing.

Read more about the research project COMPASS here.

Three cohousing communities

My PhD project focuses on three cohousing communities that are all inhabited by a combination of families with children, single people, and seniors. They are situated in the countryside and suburbs of respectively Copenhagen and Aarhus. And while two of the cohousing communities are members of the Danish Eco-village Association (LØS) and have organic farms attached, the third consists of terraced houses and a smaller outside area.

Common for the three cohousing communities is the fact that their vision grounds consider environmental and climate matters in terms of building, waste, transport and cooking, besides exchange and sharing of things, as crucial. However, what appears most important is the social foundation of the cohousing communities in terms of neighborliness, the daily communal eating and the ‘everyday community life’. In continuation hereof, I am interested in looking closer into the relationship and mutual significance between environmental focus and collectivity.

Hence, I will – through my ethnographic fieldwork in the three Danish sustainable cohousing communities – examine how a sustainable lifestyle – environmentally and socially – is articulated and practiced by the settlers.

Anette Høite Hansen
Department of Anthropology
University of Copenhagen