Cohousing Project in Berlin Shows New Options

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Our Thursday green news brings you the latest on green architecture, climate change, energy and communities:

cohousing, green living, green architecture

Photo courtesy of Noshe​

  • Cohousing project in Berlin shows new options: This architect-led and collectively funded R50 Baugruppen project in Berlin represents a new model for a community housing. The 7-story building was built together by nineteen households in the modern way: they put together funds for an acquisition of the site and the building construction, and all participated in the planning and design process including everything from communal space to interior details. The group and its architects selected the site from a set offered by the Berlin Senate Department for Urban Development—part of a city government bid to spark development outside the usual mode of initial investment for maximal short-term profit. As Florian Zeyfang, the R50 resident and artist explains: “The Baugruppen is a solution for the moment, when the city is not acting as it should.”  While the more communal aspects of R50 might smack of 1970s California communes, its rational, financial, and functional planning places it firmly in another, less idealistic category. The project demonstrates that its model represents an innovative strategy for constructing new housing. Baugenossenschaft (co-ops) and Baugemeinschaft, a form of cohousing led by an independent consultant-as-developer, often with an architectural background, have emerged as viable options as more Germans look to become homeowners. It will most likely inspire other groups around the world as well
  • NASA’s data confirms rapid water depletion in aquifers: According to a latest study from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) recently published in the journal Water Resources Research, which analyzed data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), one third of the Earth’s largest groundwater basins are rapidly depleting due to human consumption, and will only get worse with the changing climate. One of the alarming conclusions is that there’s insufficient accurate information on how much water remains in the basins, which means “significant segments of Earth’s population are consuming groundwater quickly without knowing when it might run out. Reporter Todd C. Frankel noted from one of the studies that 21 of the 37 largest aquifers in the world, have passed their sustainability tipping points,which means that water is being used faster than being replenished: “Aquifers can take thousands of years to fill up and only slowly recharge with water from snowmelt and rains. Now, as drilling for water has taken off across the globe, the hidden water reservoirs are being stressed.”
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