Cohousing Professionals as 'Middle-Agents' : Perspectives from the UK, USA and the Netherlands

Fernandez Arrigoitia, Melissa and Tummers, Lidewij (2019) Cohousing Professionals as 'Middle-Agents' : Perspectives from the UK, USA and the Netherlands. Built Environment, 45 (3). pp. 346-363. ISSN 0263-7960

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This article explores the role of cohousing professionals in three countries (the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the United States) where the relevance of this form of collaborative dwelling has grown. Cohousing initiators everywhere have to hire technical consultants such as financial and legal advisers and traditional project managers. These 'experts' or 'professionals' may, however, be insufficiently equipped to deal with the development particularities of cohousing which require the ability to move between, and translate, knowledge of different kinds. In response to this, a new type of cohousing specialist such as group-facilitators, process-management and legal coop-specialists is emerging, but the specificity and implications of their roles has gone largely unstudied. Drawing on interviews and fieldwork across the three countries, we explore the roles and dynamics, as well as the paradoxes faced by this varied professional sector. We argue that professionals are 'middle agents' who must negotiate their way between niche and mainstream housing landscapes, and that cohousing professionalization is taking place in a way that can potentially transform both grassroots and mainstream housing provision. Based on this, the conclusions recommend a shift in higher education and specialist training.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Built Environment
Additional Information:
© Arrigoitia et al., 2019. The definitive, peer reviewed and edited version of this article is published in Built Environment, 45, 3, 346-363, 2019, 10.2148/benv.45.3.346
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? cohousingconsultantsinstitutionalizationmiddle agentsprofessionalsurban studiesgeography, planning and development ??
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Deposited On:
27 Sep 2019 08:45
Last Modified:
11 Apr 2024 00:53