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Meet the Members - Lucy

Today it was Lucy's turn to tell us a little about herself and and answer some questions!

Hi there. I'm Lucy and this is me and my husband Javid. I grew up in Salford, Javid in Baku, and we both currently live in Whalley Range - sheltering under those big trees.

My day job is as an urban planner, so I'm really passionate about doing housing differently and the enormous social value that Cohousing schemes can deliver - I'd like to see land allocated by every local authority for Cohousing so they can watch see the benefits roll in.... Javid is a budding electrician and is really passionate about becoming part of the UKs decarbonisation agenda - he's also looking forward to being able to be on hand for electric jobs at a Cohousing scheme, or even fitting a few solar panels!

What does Co-Housing mean to you?

Javid was born in Azerbaijan and we have spent a lot of time pottering about mountain villages there - where Javid did a lot of work and campaigning before moving to Manchester with me, and where we continue to go back frequently. I always think of Cohousing as like one of the mountain villages we know so well, but brought into the modern era a little - sharing resources, mutual support across all the generations and slightly more free-range kids! I think Cohousing is about much less than bricks and mortar (or cross-laminated timber!) and much more about the social links it creates. Even without a digger in sight, I've met such inspiring and warm people through MICO, all working towards a common goal, many of whom I hope will be friends for life. What is your favourite Co-Housing scheme?

I'm a big fan of the LILAC scheme in Leeds. We went on a group visit there and I loved their growing space, their big pond and their ability to dry washing so easily given how well insulated and ventilated the homes are! One thing that really struck me was a story that a couple of the residents told about an informal tradition that has emerged at LILAC, whereby when a family gives birth to a baby, the community organise to cook and drop round their meals for the first week. It struck me that it's often the simplest, lowest-effort things that can make the biggest difference... It just requires a community to work together. I'm also really enjoying following the exciting progress of Leeds' second Cohousing scheme, Chaco, which seems to be doing really well in building a more diverse community within Cohousing schemes. It does make me envious though that our neighbour across the Pennines now has two schemes and we've not yet in Greater Manchester - we need to get spades in the ground and catch up!

Future – Hopes and Dreams with MICO

I thrive on being around other people, but I also really enjoy my solitude every now and then. I love the idea of being able to manage that private/public balance - to retreat to a warm home when I need solitude, but to be able to drop my neighbours a line to see if anyone fancies a last minute board game when I'm feeling like a bit of a chat and company, without having to make a big expedition out into the city. I also love living car-free (we mostly get around by bike or bus). So I'm desperate to live somewhere where I don't have to look out of my window at other peoples' cars! I'm looking forward to a car-share scheme where we could get access to a car for the odd trip without having to spend half my income on insuring and maintaining one ourselves. Instead I'm hoping to look at a community street or growing space, where in traditional developments that space would more likely be paved over for parking... I love the idea of being able to make decisions together as a community about what our land is used for and what our priorities are. My fortress of solitude... I think it would have to be the Whitworth Gallery - specifically the gallery with the big picture windows looking out on the park. I find the space so calming and makes me realise why I love living in the city so much - all of us having this on our doorstep and free to enter. I love sometimes to sit after browsing an exhibition watching life go by in the park. To me, places like this sum up the idea of "private sufficiency, public luxury", which I also think sits at the heart of Cohousing schemes.


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