01 Apr '18

Apprenticeship in
democracy and tolerance

door Gerard Hautekeur
La Placette in Wezembeek-Oppem is the oldest cohousing project in the Rand.

The 11 households have enjoyed an astonishing success in combining their individual and common housing needs. ‘One-third of the site is earmarked for individual dwellings, each with a garden. The rest is shared property. A house shared by all the residents boasts a kitchen and a meeting room. Behind the dwellings is a large communal garden’, says Anne De Cannière. She stresses the importance of clear agreements. Solidarity does not arise spontaneously, it is something you have to invest in. ‘Joint initiatives were taken right at the outset, while matters are decided by consensus.’ A commitment to social concerns is also important. ‘La Placette has three small, reasonably priced flats that we rent out to socially vulnerable people.’