UBC Okanagan students help plan Kelowna’s first co-housing development

Open house explores new design and concept

What: Free public open house on co-housing development
When: Wednesday, March 6 at 7 p.m.
Where: Kelowna Innovation Centre Theatre, 460 Doyle Ave.

Community housing is an old concept. But UBC Okanagan students are modernizing the idea with their creation of Kelowna’s first co-housing development plans, called the Aviary.

The engineering and management students and their faculty supervisor will be on hand at a free public open house to unveil the concept, designs and business model for what they say will be an evolution in sustainable housing for the region.

“Co-housing should not be confused with co-op, social or low-income housing,” says Gord Lovegrove, associate professor of engineering at UBC Okanagan and project leader. “The co-housing model typically involves 30 committed families who co-develop a property that clusters self-contained, smaller units around a central community dining and activity hall.”

Lovegrove says this community property helps to reduce costs but increases quality of life thanks to shared facilities like a community garden, social hall, craft room, workshop, toddler playroom and laundry.

“It’s an elegant solution because it addresses many housing issues simultaneously, from aging in place for seniors, to building a sense of community for those that otherwise might be socially isolated, to housing affordability for first-time home buyers,” says Lovegrove.

Development of the project was supported by fourth-year engineering and management students who were responsible for identifying potential locations, designing site layouts and determining development costs. The students also took charge of creating a viable business model for the project and managing its marketing.

“This is the culmination of two years of work and the team worked hard to create an innovative approach to an old idea,” says Lovegrove. “We’re excited to present the conceptual designs to the public and work with anyone interested in helping to make the project a reality.”

The open house begins at 7 p.m. on March 6 at the Kelowna Innovation Centre Theatre. A mini-design café will take place at 8 p.m. for those wishing to delve further the details or to become involved in the next steps.

About UBC's Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning in the heart of British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley. Ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world, UBC is home to bold thinking and discoveries that make a difference. Established in 2005, the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world.

To find out more, visit: ok.ubc.ca.