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!

[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...
Tags: Developing, Tags: Finance
Views: 1,911
Looking to build a supportive urban community for aging? With senior cohousing and urban living both on the rise, Conference goers will be treated to a case study in both from Lew Bowers. Discount...
Tags: Conference, Tags: Starting, Tags: Stories
Views: 949
Reposted from PBS website: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/balancing-privacy-community-design-cohousing/ Architect Laura Fitch describes cohousing communities as “privacy within your home and...
Tags: Design
Views: 982
In sociocracy, consent and consensus decision-making are only used for policy decisions. Policy decisions are those that govern actions and allocation of resources (budget, people, etc.). But this...
Views: 972
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...
Views: 124,205
I recently had the opportunity to speak before a City/County Planning Commission in support of Village Hearth Cohousing in Durham, North Carolina. Many of you will remember - or are gearing up for -...
Views: 886
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
Views: 1,577
Happy Holidays! What an enormous gift cohousing gives to those living in community ☺ Many of you currently live in cohousing, have collaborated on construction or development of communities, or...
Views: 7,164
"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
Views: 1,317
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...
Views: 943
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
Views: 2,553
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?...
Views: 1,183
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
Views: 894
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
Views: 2,451
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 [...
Views: 933
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...
Views: 1,535
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...
Views: 1,836
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
Views: 1,055
“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...
Views: 3,633
[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...
Views: 3,515
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...
Views: 1,611
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
Views: 1,456
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...
Views: 1,902
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
Views: 1,747
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...
Views: 2,172
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...
Views: 1,706
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
Views: 1,370
While it has been arguably necessary, it is also unfortunate that cohousing projects are most often sold to appraisers and banks as nothing less--and nothing more--than a condominium. You’ve cut...
Views: 1,884
“I feel different,” Essie said quizzically as she stood in front of her new condo in Germantown Commons, “I'm not dressing up as much as before.” We had just started moving in to the brand new homes...
Views: 1,540
When lying awake last night reflecting on various decisions made in cohousing and in my neighborhood community, I explored some questions about what is open and transparent in a world where everyone...
Views: 1,899

Pages