Peterborough Co-op is 14 townhouses around a huge central courtyard, with a neighbourhood house.

It’s in inner-city Ōtautahi (Christchurch) and started in 1982.

The 2011 earthquake terminally damaged all the houses, allowing us to rebuild as a purpose-designed pocket neighbourhood.


Peterborough is a project of the Ōtākaro Land Trust.

Community members playing a game.

Liana (front) is our gamemaster

Peterborough gives a sense of extended family-like ties. Each household is in charge of itself, but is also part of something bigger.

Peterborough purposely includes grandparents, families, single parents, couples, singles, young people, and children.  

The cooperative is designed to encourage informal chats, with the central courtyard giving a sense of village life, and a chance to say hi to your neighbours every day.

We also have a weekly pot-luck dinner in the common house and self-governance.


Cooperative enterprises are controlled and managed by their residents, workers, or consumers. We as residents run the cooperative, and decisions are made by consensus.

Peterborough provides an economically sustainable housing model as an alternative to profiteering from private ownership.

  • The 11 renters pay a ‘living rent’ to Ōtākaro Land Trust. This is 35% of the weekly living wage for the smallest unit, then increasing by unit size.
  • The 3 owners cannot make a capital gain on their unit.

Peterborough includes extensive common facilities including two shared laundries, a common house with a dining room, kitchen, lounge, bike shed, kids, living, and guest room. We also have a workshop and bike shed planned.


Peterborough Housing Cooperative from the sky and the city behind it.

Peterborough Housing Cooperative before landscaping

Solar panels

Warm houses from solar-boosted underfloor heating and high insulation.

Peterborough pocket neighbourhood was rebuilt with environmental sustainability in mind. It features:

  • Warm houses sustaining around 16 – 20 degrees unheated because of  the 140mm wall studs, wool insulation, row housing, large north-facing windows onto concrete slab, and thermally broken double glazing.
  • Central hot water and underfloor heating system powered by heat pumps and boosted by solar panels.
  • Non-toxic materials (as much as we can), including sustainability-certified wood cladding (larch and Accoya weatherboards, macrocarpa pergola), wool carpet, natural paints, and Marmoleum flooring.
  • Permaculture and native plantings.
  • Super cheap and fast shared internet connection.

It takes a village to raise a child. Peterborough is designed for children as the heart of community.

Children will have a huge backyard, with a playground, that’s safely away from cars. They get instant playmates.

Parents are better placed to support each other and know they are not alone.

We have found Peterborough children increase their social skills and intelligence and are more articulate than otherwise. This is because they have many other adults besides their parents to talk to and who look out for them.

The children of Peterborough sitting on the common house porch.

A great place to bring up children.

Peterborough Pocket Neighbourhood Site Plan

Peterborough Pocket Neighbourhood Site Plan

Take a tour around Peterborough Housing Cooperative.

A resident will show you around and discuss what living in a pocket neighbourhood is like, how to design for community, and answer all your questions.

The on-site tours cost $2 and run for about 50 minutes.


Book an appointment with Peterborough using Setmore