What Is Cohousing?

Cohousing is an intentional community of private homes clustered around shared space. Each attached or single family home has traditional amenities, including a private kitchen. Shared spaces typically feature a common house, which may include a large kitchen and dining area, laundry, and recreational spaces. Shared outdoor space may include parking, walkways, open space, and gardens. Neighbours also share resources like tools and lawnmowers.

Households have independent incomes and private lives, but neighbours collaboratively plan and manage community activities and shared spaces. The legal structure is typically a Condo Association. Community activities feature regularly-scheduled shared meals, meetings, and workdays. Neighbours gather for parties, games, movies, or other events. Cohousing makes it easy to form clubs, organize child and elder care, and carpool.

Cohousing is Great for Families!

Benefits for Children

  • Children can walk out the door and play: friends are close by and play spaces are visible from homes, like the good ol’ days ūüėČ
  • Play in the physical world, in person with other children
  • Social learning
  • All the adults in the community are known and trusted
  • Shared experiences with mixed age groups and different generations together

Benefits for Parents

  • No more need to administer your child‚Äôs social life!
  • Optional community dinners almost every night. No need to plan and cook meals for just your family unless you want to.
  • No streets and cars zooming by! Even young children can just walk out the door and play.
  • Model a lifestyle of being part of community
  • Friends are all around you; no need to carve out time for socializing‚ÄĒit‚Äôs all right here!
  • Perfect balance between privacy and village life. Each household has a private home, but many resources are shared, both formally and informally.

Characteristics of Cohousing

Relationships

  • Neighbours commit to being part of a community for everyone‚Äôs mutual benefit.
  • Cohousing cultivates a culture of sharing and caring.
  • Design features and neighbourhood size (typically 20-40 homes) promote frequent interaction and close relationships.

Balancing Privacy and Community

  • Cohousing neighbourhoods are designed for privacy as well as community.
  • Residents balance privacy and community by choosing their own level of engagement.‚Äč

Participation

  • Decision making is participatory and often based on consensus.
  • Self-management empowers residents, builds community, and saves money.

Shared Values

  • Cohousing communities support residents in actualizing shared values.
  • Cohousing communities typically adopt green approaches to living
Savings in Cohousing

In a typical neighbourhood, there aren’t many savings to quantify. Those we do calculate are typically a factor of only our own home.¬†Cohousing is different and wonderful in this respect. The savings to a cohousing resident come in many forms…
  • Common Facilities in Cohousing:¬†Many cohousers look at the common house as an extension of their own residence, because it acts as such a valued part of their day-to-day living – from meals to yoga classes to their child’s piano lessons. Your share of the common facilities is at least equivalent to buying an extra bedroom outside of cohousing.
  • Less Maintenance:¬†When buying into a new cohousing project, your home will need much less maintenance than an older home requires.
  • Hosting Made Simple:¬†Guests can reserve rooms in the Common House, so you don’t have to find them a hotel nearby or rush to clear out your spare bedroom.
  • Community Sharing:¬†One lawnmower, and a common house tool shed with equipment to use, for example.

‚Äč

  • Parenting with Ease:¬†Families often collaborate on childcare needs in cohousing, minimizing a family’s budget for babysitters.¬†With safe, car-free spaces for kids to play, there’s less¬†time shuttling kids to play dates.
  • Common Meals:¬†Eating with neighbours provides enormous savings when compared to eating out.¬†Eating common dinners can cut down on preparing for nightly, single-family meals.¬†Many communities purchase in bulk, so it’s not unreasonable to have a filling dinner for $4-5 in the¬†common house.
  • Need-it-now Backup:¬†Ever been ready to bake a cake and realized you’re¬†short on flour? In cohousing, your neighbour will probably have both¬†flour¬†and some baking advice.¬†Need a tent, an extra bike, or a spare iPhone charger? In community, one email will generally get you many options to choose from.

“Cohousing is intrinsically an affordable model: one of its main purposes, outside of a strong sense of community, is limiting resource consumption by sharing resources. The savings in energy, maintenance costs, and food outweigh the apparent up-front costs due to new construction.”
‚Äč

РCharles Durrett, Co-author of Creating Cohousing: Building Sustainable Communities

Advertisements