Bull Dunster's plans to build the green homes that the traditional development market will not fund (7 February, page 15) are to be applauded, and could be the thin end of what may become a sizeable wedge.
But he is not alone; a variation on this theme is known as "cohousing" and is about 25 years old. It originated in Scandinavia, has spread to the USA. The first UK cohousing scheme is under construction in Stroud, Gloucestershire (www.cohouses.net).

Unlike Bill's scheme (which presumably is driven by him), cohousing is driven by a group of like-minded individuals who form a development vehicle, appoint and brief consultants, obtain funding, are very active during procurement and construction, then move in and live as a community. With cohousing, the end user doesn't so much buy a house as join a community, and this community spirit is strengthened by the construction of a "common house" (not a community centre), shared by all the residents, and an integral feature of all cohousing schemes.

Cohousing gives residents the opportunity to collaborate on not just the design of their own homes, but the design of their community and, indeed, the interrelation of each other's lives. It might sound wacky, but one can't escape the feeling that a community created and proactively managed by its residents in this way will exist long after other forms of housing have come and gone.