The Swedish National Association Cohousing NOW

The Swedish National Association Cohousing NOW
– in Swedish Kollektivhus NU – is an association working to promote collaborative housing and other alternative ways of living. The association supports existing co-housing units as well as groups intending to create new units. Originally formed in 1981, it has recently been revitalised with the prime purpose to inform the public about cohousing as an alternative, and to influence authorities to facilitate the creation and running of such units.

”Kollektivhus NU currently has 42 cohousing units as full members, and 15 organisations working in favour of collaborative housing. There are also a number of individual supporting members.

The over 50 cohousing units that exist in Sweden are mainly the result of civil society campaigns and positive responses from public housing authorities during the 1980s. The existing cohousing units are concentrated to the main urban centres.

Today the trend is again turning in favour of collaborative housing. Although in the last five years only a few new units have been built, more are now on their way especially in Gothenburg and Stockholm. Kollektivhus NU has an active collaboration with SABO – the umbrella organisation Swedish Association of Municipal Housing Companies.”

2010 International Conference about Collaborative Housing in Stockholm – the Proceedings ”Living together – Cohousing Ideas and Realities Around the World” for downloading.

In 2010, Kollektivhus NU hosted the first international conference on cohousing. The Proceedings has since 2010 been available in print. Now, the volume’s well over 230 pages is available electronically.

Labelled Living together, the Proceedings contains all the papers presented at the conference, reports from the workshops, and – not least important – a review of concepts and terminology relating to different models of cohousing. With 150 participants from 20 countries, the realities of cohousing were shown to vary a great deal, and so were the terms used to express ‘cohousing’ in respective country.

Internationally, the demand for access to Proceedings has grown considerably, demonstrating the importance of the conference as a starting point for a growing international movement aiming to make cohousing an alternative in the housing market.

To build senior housing together – a handbook now in translation into English


A few years ago, a handbook titled  Bygga seniorboende tillsammans (Building senior housing together) was published in Sweden. It is a manual for groups who seek new ways to live together, and describes step by step how a group can carry their plans through to a positive result.

Furthermore, the handbook provides descriptions of how building entrepreneurs and local government may act to facilitator and support the groups’ work and intentions.  Finally, fourteen case studies of  projects initiated by groups since the turn of the century are presented as illustrations of the process.

With support from the EU-financed project called ’Co-elderly’, the two authors Ingela Blomberg och Kerstin Kärnekull have initiated a translation of the handbook to English. Translator is Mette Kjörstad, currently living in the cohousing unit Färdknäppen in Stockholm. The new edition should be available during 2019. Specific Swedish conditions are not included.


The paper Four Decades of Swedish Cohousing

 Four Decades of Swedish Cohousing – What Chances of a Real Take-off was written and presented by Bertil Egerö at a European conference in Tours, 12-13 March 2012. Egerö discusses the prospects of a wider acceptance of cohousing in Sweden against experiences gathered of the history of the Swedish cohousing movement and its achievements so far. He concludes by underlining the strength of constraints in politics, institutions and culture as impediments to a real take-off.

For further information about the conference, see where conference programme, participants and papers presented is found.


A broad overview of cohousing models in five countries


  • Read John Killock’s report about the historical development and present situation for cohousing in Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, USA and the UK. The 193 pages report is richly illustrated and shows a large number of design models. It also makes interesting comparisons between the five countries. The main focus is on senior cohousing, but the book also describes many projects for mixed ages. The report has been made possible through a grant from the Royal Institute of British Architects.

  • Cohousing in Sweden, history and present situation

    History of cohousing – internationally and in Sweden Collaborative housing (here also called cohousing) has a long and fascinating history. In different periods various models for more neighbourly housing with shared services have been launched. These models have been motivated sometimes as social and political visions and sometimes as practical solutions to the needs of day-to-day life. The most important goals have been to share responsibilities fairly between men and women, to know and work with those who live nearby, and to have access to shared facilities. This article describes the main characteristics and antecedents of cohousing internationally and in Sweden.

    Here you can learn more: Cohousing in Sweden, a document written by the former chairman of Kollektivhus NU, Dick Urban Vestbro, in 2014.


Reports from the EU-funded project CoElderly now available



Living together – Cohousing Ideas and Realities Around the World

In May 2010, the first ever International Conference on Collaborative Housing took place in Stockholm, Sweden, attracting 150 participants from no less than 20 countries. Cohousing Now presents a comprehensive report from the conferense.

Living together

The book is an excellent source of material for researchers, housing companies, politicians, activists and non-government organisations interested in how to solve challenges linked to the ageing of societies and other transformations in household structures, how to relate to the problems of urban anonymity and isolation, or how to bring to life the potential of neighbourly cooperation and the search for less unsustainable lifestyles.

The Conference was a joint arrangement by the Swedish association Kollektivhus Nu and the Division of Urban and Regional Studies of The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm.

Read more about the book: Living together (pdf).

The book may be ordered either from: The Division of Urban and Regional Studies, School of Architecture and the Built Environment, the Royal Institute of Technology, Drottning Kristinas väg 30, SE-10044 Stockholm, Sweden or from:

The price of the book is Eur 18 (USD 23, SEK 150) + postage for single copies and Eur 16 (USD 20, SEK 120) + postage when ordering ten copies or more.