About the Urban Coup

Home is where the hearth is...

...but more than this, home is where our community is, our family, friends – the networks that support and nourish us.

What is Urban Coup?

The Urban Coup (the 'Coup') is an initiative of a group of Melbournians who share a vision of creating not just housing, but community. We are a cohesive community that is welcoming, supportive and inclusive of all individuals. We currently have two cohousing projects in development, driven by slightly different needs and the extensive shared knowledge of our membership.

Urban Coup also presents a range of opportunities for engaging and sharing with diverse local communities via supportive activities. This may lead to partnership, social enterprise or simply manifest kinship within our local hood via volunteer activities. Examples include: a food cooperative; local garden and food exchange; skill exchange workshops; upcycling activities and support for diverse local causes. We actively encourage the development of cohousing communities in Australia.

We have about 50 members so far, but are always looking for more, as these members are divided between the two current projects. We also hope to be able to incorporate some social housing into the mix of accommodation, however this will depend on opportunities.

Our projects

Near and Tall 1

Near and Tall 1 is a high-density apartment development close to the CBD and has been fully sold to Urban Coup members. This project will commence building early 2020 and we expect to move in late 2021.

See here for a short film about Near and Tall: 'Cohousing is... community':

Far and Wide

Far and wide is a lower density garden-set development in the middle to outer suburbs. The project is in an earlier stage and is seeking participants to further develop the plan.

Near and Tall 2

We are keen to see Near and Tall 2 get underway and are looking for new members to drive a new project.

What will Urban Coup developments consist of?

  • Shared community open space – designed to encourage community interaction, a veggie patch and the occasional BBQ.
  • Community owned facilities – we will all own the common facilities, just like any owners’ corporation, except they will be managed by us – the residents.
  • Privately owned dwellings – each dwelling will have its own private balcony or courtyard, its own kitchen and dining area, and can be bought and sold on the open market like a conventional house or apartment.

What is Cohousing?

Cohousing allows for you to enjoy the privacy of your own home, and yet walk out your back door to be part of a community with which you share a garden, some common facilities and even a regular meal. For three decades cohousing has been growing successfully worldwide, reinvigorating with it the age-old concept of community.

Some of these communities have grown incrementally, some have renovated existing buildings to create their community and some have started from scratch. They have been built in inner-city, and suburban and rural locations; populated by ex-students, families or especially created for senior citizens – each building their own unique small community.

The shared facilities will vary from community to community depending on size, location and membership, however each aims to create practical opportunities that enable the community to share experiences or enhance their access to shared spaces that wouldn't otherwise be available beyond their private dwelling.

There are times when everyone needs space, which is when each resident having their own self-contained residence to go home to, gives the balance needed for community life.

Australia has several successful cohousing communities that exist in Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart, and Perth. In Denmark, where cohousing was pioneered in the 1970s, there are hundreds of cohousing communities. Cohousing has also been growing in the Germany, UK, Canada, New Zealand and USA, so there are plenty of examples of successful communities to learn from.