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!

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: 646
“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: 2,316
[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: 2,186
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: 1,127
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: 952
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: 1,553
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: 1,286
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: 1,764
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: 1,440
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: 1,086
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: 1,438
“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: 1,328
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: 1,430
[Editor's Note: Village Hearth Cohousing is a sponsor of the Aging Better Together Conference. Come join us!] These are exciting times on the cohousing front in the Triangle area of North Carolina...
Views: 1,310
Have you registered for the unique opportunity to promote your community along with others around the country through the National Cohousing Open House Day coming up (Sat) April 30, 2016? This will...
Tags: Coho/US, Tags: Connecting, Tags: Marketing, Tags: More than Cohousing, Tags: News, Tags: Tours
Views: 1,875
There are certainly many substantive benefits of being an early investor and committed burning soul in the cohousing formative stages. The most important of these are having a strong Influence in...
Views: 1,542
Download the "What is Cohousing?" slideshow from Kraus Fitch Architects, or view it below.
Views: 37,282
This post is on a neighborhood discussion list and will be seemingly off-topic but bear with me. Our neighborhood list, TakomaDC where Takoma Village Cohousing is located, started in the 1990s by...
Tags: Connecting, Tags: Group Process, Tags: Resources
Views: 2,286
[Editor's Note: Reprinted from Communities Magazine by Robert Boyer, an Assistant Professor of Geography and Earth Sciences at UNC Charlotte. Robert has researched cohousing and ecovillage...
Views: 1,295
The Board of Partnerships for Affordable Cohousing (PFAC) is excited to announce that Wendy Wiesner has agreed to serve as our first Executive Director! Wendy is widely known for her commitment to...
Views: 1,236
I am often asked about “affordable housing”. People want “affordable cohousing”. I want to share with you what this is all about and why I believe this country lacks “affordable cohousing”. I also...
Views: 2,494
Over 50 folks joined us, North Bay Cohousing, on Sept 13th in Novato, CA to learn about two real and now cohousing opportunities in the North Bay: a Novato site for sale and a Cotati site under...
Tags: Developing, Tags: Starting
Views: 1,392
[Editor's Note: This article reprinted from Communities Magazine is authored by Robert Boyer, an Assistant Professor of Geography and Earth Sciences at UNC Charlotte. Robert has researched cohousing...
Tags: Legal
Views: 1,708
What are some ways to encourage people to create low-income cohousing?, Suggestions: 1. Define "low income." “Affordable” is not a euphemism for “low income.” Affordable is usually defined...
Views: 2,024
Question: We are 3 months into starting a co-housing community in western MA. We will soon be discussing how we will make group decisions. I don't think we have to reinvent the wheel on this one....
Views: 7,821
"It is a strategy I think a community could use to jump start their program, and then talk about how to reduce the centralization after a year or more of successful meals. Since we have quite slowly...
Views: 3,632
Most values statements are so vague that pretty much anyone would be willing to endorse them. Values statements mean nothing unless they are connected to a vision, mission, and aims. The same...
Views: 2,566
Off my usual topic of governance but this was a response to a question from a new community that I thought might be helpful to all new communities, and some settled ones. What should we buy of the...
Tags: Finance, Tags: Common House, Tags: Design, Tags: Food, Meals & Recipes, Tags: Starting
Views: 3,632
Like all of you, I am regularly confronted with “Cohousing, what’s that?” Despite my architectural background, I am very slow to bring up anything along the lines of the development program or...
Tags: Coho/US, Tags: Common House, Tags: Diversity, Tags: International, Tags: Marketing, Tags: More than Cohousing
Views: 2,431
NCB Expands Financing and Banking Services to Support Cohousing Communities NCB Product Offererings: Real Estate Loans Cooperative Unit Loans Deposit Accounts Cash Management.National...
Views: 5,098

Pages