8th December 2021 | Blog Posts
One of John Perkins Construction’s most exciting projects currently on site is the construction of seven dwellings in Knowle, Bristol. This development is being built on the grounds of a former farmhouse at Lower Knowle Farm, for community group Co-Housing Bristol. It will set the standard for a new way of thinking about how we live.
In this Q&A, Jawahar De Sousa, one of the members of Co-Housing Bristol, reveals what the project means to him, and why chilling in the shared garden is what he’s looking forward to most.
Tell us a little bit about Co-Housing Bristol
Co-Housing Bristol is a community of people with shared values in terms of environmental, social and economic sustainability and have all chosen to make their homes and live at Lower Knowle Farm (LKF).
What does this project mean to you?
The construction project is very important to the community. It is hoped that it will consolidate and strengthen the community and secure our long-term future at LKF.
The completion of this project will represent the community’s greatest achievement and the realisation of its longstanding vision of a co-housing community at LKF.
What do people misunderstand about co-housing?
I wonder if they think that co-housing is some sort of “cult” community with strange rituals, or are drum-banging hippies, or obscure religious sects.
The reality is that most co-housing groups are ordinary people living ordinary lives – choosing to be closer and share more with their neighbours, in mutually supportive communities.
What are the advantages of co-housing?
It’s about communities – about people that intentionally choose to live in neighbourhoods among like-minded people with shared values. In our case, it’s about living sustainably in a mixed community that cares, shares and supports each other.
We hope to grow and share food, to be able to buy food and other consumables in bulk, to have shared laundry facility, thereby reducing the number of washing machines, tumble driers, etc., to share tools, e.g. just one lawn mower shared by seven households. We also intend a car-share scheme within the community, which is good for the environment, and hopefully economically beneficial to members of the community.
Most importantly, however, co-housing communities provide safe and secure environments conditions for individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Knowing your neighbours by interacting with them helps build positive relationships and encourages individuals to look out and care for each other.
Why did you choose to work with John Perkins Construction?
JPC was recommended by two different sources. Our background research into the company was good and encouraging.
We asked our architect to approach JPC to discuss the project and invite JPC to provide a cost estimate for our work specified document. Although the price was higher than we expected, the discussions with JPC were positive and we felt confident that JPC and Co-Housing Bristol would be able to work together to deliver the project to completion.
How has the construction process been so far?
I feel that there is a good relationship between the contractor and client. This is very important for this unusual project.
There has been the odd hiccup, but nothing of significance, and are the sort of unpredictable issues that can arise on any project. The important point here is that the issues were addressed promptly, transparently and satisfactorily.
What are you most looking forward to, once the new dwellings are complete?
A celebratory party, of course!
More importantly, though, working with the community to create the shared/common facilities – the shared laundry, kitchen and outdoor areas, especially the shared gardens – and then just chilling in the shared garden, perhaps chatting with some of my neighbours, with gin and tonic and pizza or maybe hot chocolate and a flapjack and playing Scrabble.