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Cotopia - a community design game

Co housing, community self build, facilitate, housing cluster,
Cotopia - a game to facilitate group decisions in community housing schemes

Home owners are often dis-empowered and de-valued as a result of a top down system of planning and production.

GreenTrace Architect believe that human environments are successful only if the people are directly responsible for shaping it, and that there is a common language to bring together ideas.

However, community groups face many challenges in reaching consensus on the design of self-build sites. A group may share a common vision but is composed of individuals with their own agendas, values and solutions.

We undertook research into how consensus design techniques may facilitate decision making in these groups. The result was Cotopia: a co-housing design game; a tool to help community housing groups come to a consensus on the layout of the land they share by condensing a shared vision into physical form through an inclusive, structured and fun process. The game helps groups be led by a common goal over individual preferences, fostering forward thinking inspiration and holistic consciousness.

It was great fun to trial the game with a variety of people. Other games have evolved from this research, some of which have been played with great success by the community group at Bridge Farm in Bristol. GreenTrace have been part of the design steering group at Bridge Farm for over a year now, helping members consider and make decisions on the layout of the self-build co-housing site.

Check out the Bridge Farm website here.

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