Creating Cohousing

Mosaic Commons Site Design, by Laura FitchCohousing can be urban, suburban, or rural. A key feature of a community is its flexibility to the needs and values of its residents and characteristics of the site. Most cohousing groups make development and design decisions by consensus, and forge a strong partnership with their professional development team. Because residents design the community themselves, they feel a connection to the land and each other before the physical community is even built.

How a dream becomes reality

Cohousing communities begin with a vision. Future residents soon forge strong ties with one another and develop a sense of community as they work together to organize the group, make effective decisions, and build and grow their cohousing neighborhood. Members of forming groups must decide, “What do we want our cohousing community to look like?” Once a vision is agreed upon, future residents develop the project by finding a building site, designing the community, working through the local governmental approval process, hiring and managing construction professionals and cohousing consultants, and incorporating maximum sustainability principles. Group members will also need to make decisions about the financial realities of their project, including financing options, ownership structures, and project management, that is, keeping the project on track and on budget. The process of turning a cohousing dream into reality is challenging, but the ultimate reward is an innovative and collaborative community to call home.

What does cohousing look like

Most cohousing communities are designed to be compact. Cohousing communities consist of private, fully-equipped dwellings and extensive common amenities including recreation areas and a common house. Many neighborhoods are planned to keep cars to the periphery, which promotes interacting with neighbors and increases safety for playing children. Shared green space is also a key feature – whether for gardening, playing, or socializing. A final key feature is the common house – the “living room” of the community. Cohousing communities depend on cooperation and collaboration, from start to finish.

Residents work together to create a custom-built, resident-managed, close-knit neighborhood that offers a healthy balance of privacy and community. It takes a long time to build a cohousing community, but the process is worth it!

This summary has been created by the Affordable Cohousing Task Group of The Cohousing Association of the United States (CohoUS). It is intended to be a resource for existing and forming cohousing...
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Report: In January 2010, the Cohousing Association of the United States (COHO/US) chartered an Affordable Cohousing Task Group. The purpose was to address the need for more affordable units in...
Tags: Affordability, Tags: Finance
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Many professionals are interested in providing services to forming groups and existing communities. Coho/US does not screen Other Professional listings. Professionals demonstrating cohousing...
Tags: Connecting, Tags: Design, Tags: Developing, Tags: Group Process
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There are some terrific books for people working to create communities. Here are some of them: Amazon.com Widgets If you can't see the Amazon widget above, try turning adblock off for this...
Tags: books
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Want to know what other communities have done? You can find examples in our Policy Database, including the collection of Useful Documents done by Laura Fitch and others in December of 2011, and the...
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The first steps in creating a new cohousing community don’t need to be abstract, circular or ambiguous. One of cohousing’s sages updates his worthwhile advice on where a new forming group should...
Tags: Starting
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Cohousing-L is an email discussion list on all aspects of cohousing -- development, design, move-in, organizing work, community life, governance, finances, legal questions, etc. Many cohousing...
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Useful Documents shared by existing and forming communities The purpose of this compilation is to provide a simple way for forming and existing cohousing (and other intentional) communities to...
Tags: Resources
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"5 Reasons To Consider Joining A Cohousing Community" in The Good Trade is this week's take on the benefits of cohousing, written by a member of Fair Oaks EcoHousing. This blog's aim is to search...
Tags: News, Tags: Stories
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Baby Boomers have kicked the birdies out of their nests and downsizing from years of accumulating the detritus of life. Millennials are finding it increasingly difficult to find low cost housing for...
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Attached and available for download are Coho/US packages seeking FNMA and FHA-HUD support. We encourage readers to use this package if helpful; for example, cohousing groups seeking financing and may...
Tags: Affordability, Tags: Finance
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These are select responses to Susan Adams (Jubilee Cohousing, Floyd, VA) query on Cohousing-L: What percentage of your anticipated membership did you have before you began to build your homes?...
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CoHousing Solutions is proud to announce our first graduating class of the 500 Communities Program! This year-long training is spearheaded by Katie McCamant, and gathers passionate cohousing...
Tags: News, Tags: Professionals
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Cohousing in Denmark was catapulted into success with the collaboration of the very capable architect Jan Gudmand Hoyer and the architectural firm Vandkunsten. Their idea was inspired by the article...
Tags: Design
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It’s been a long six years and a particularly long last six months but we’ve finally arrived. Persistence pays off! We moved into CHUC (Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing) on June 14, 2016. Backstory [...
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Philip Dowds is responding to a coho-l inquiry: is cohousing really a lot more expensive than a similar but bigger house in a somewhat equivalent middle or slightly upper-middle class neighborhood...
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Thanks for a great 2015 conference. Click here to find out about the 2017 National Cohousing Conference (May 19-21, 2017 in Nashville) THIS YEAR’S CONFERENCE promises an amazing lineup of...
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Liz Ryan Cole is responding to an coho-l email discussion on affordability. For those people following this thread on affordability (and don’t forget to find all the older posts that have been...
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Attached is Fair Oaks EcoHousing's "Sustainable Living Features" Cohousers don’t only talk the green talk, they walk the green walk. Yet the sustainable lifestyle inherent in intentional...
Tags: Design
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“Imagine that you live in a place where you know all your neighbors and they all look out for you. You often encounter a friend as you walk to or from your car. You are invited, daily, to join others...
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[Wendy is responding to an inquiry from a person in Sacramento seeking affordable cohousing options, who writes: I’ve been trying to crack this cohousing egg for many years without luck. We have many...
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Published in Communities Magazine #171: Ecovillages Around the World Following the first cohousing community in the United States, Muir Commons in Davis, California, cohousing has not only...
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[Part of the Session “How to Grow a Senior Cohousing Community,” presented at the Aging Better Together Cohousing Conference, May 2016 in Salt Lake City.] Pat and David have told you the story of...
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What I think is a great find is the uniform condominium bylaws. It was written by the Uniform Law Commission. The Uniform Law Commission (ULC, also known as the National Conference of Commissioners...
Tags: Legal
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Cohousing groups across the country need project managers and marketing assistance to help them realize their dreams. CoHousing Solutions’ 500 Communities Program is halfway though its first year...
Tags: Event, Tags: Professionals, Tags: Work
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Jane Ellen Bleeg, a founder of Flower City Cohousing forming group in Rochester, New York, is sharing their research - attached - as they consider including affordable units. Information sources were...
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Vermont is a state of small towns, and among them, the village of Bristol is unique. It is the commercial hub of five rural townships, featuring an old-fashioned Main Street lined with shops and...
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Iowa City Cohousing, which is in the process of submitting our site plan to the city planning and zoning commission and has about one-third of the needed member households, regularly asks folks who...
Tags: Marketing
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One of the great tragedies of our hyper-individualized society is the separation of the generations. There is so much love and wisdom lost, and so much needless suffering endured as a result of the...
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Our Getting It Built Workshop comes almost exactly on the nine-year anniversary of the day I first heard of cohousing. At the time, I was a member of the Board of Directors of Tri-City Homeless...
Tags: Event, Tags: Stories
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