An intentional community is a planned residential community, designed to have a high degree of social cohesion and teamwork. The members typically hold a common vision, which includes sharing responsibilities and resources.

Cohousing is one type of intentional community. It is composed of private homes, supplemented by shared facilities. The community is planned, owned and managed by the residents, who live independently, but share some activities, which may include cooking, dining, child care and gardening. Common facilities may include a kitchen, dining room, laundry, child care facilities, offices, internet access, guest rooms and recreational features.

At Saint Laurent, each apartment is (or will be) independent and self-contained. The shared space over two floors is extensive and offers scope for relaxation, cooking, shared meals, a bar, parties, television, music, a library, fine dining, etc. A double ensuite bedroom will be available for visiting guests.

The modern theory of cohousing originated in Denmark in the 1960s among groups of families who were dissatisfied with existing housing and communities, which they felt did not meet their needs. In contrast, cohousing facilitates interaction among neighbours for social, practical, economic and environmental benefits.

Geoff and Penny’s interest in cohousing springs from their belief in the importance of community. In the UK, too many people experience isolation. It also makes economic sense in these hard-pressed times, because participants get considerably more for a smaller investment. For those who wish to be ‘swallows’, it offers the comfort that one’s asset is being looked after in one’s absence.