Living in Cohousing

Mosaic Commons swingset, courtesy Diana CarrollCohousing residents like to describe their communities as “intentional neighborhoods.” The underlying desire is to have a strong sense of community with your neighbors.

Who are your neighbors

The majority of cohousing communities in the United States comprise 20 to 40 units, with other ranging from 7 to 67 homes. Cohousing attracts a wide range of household types: single people of all ages; couples; families and single parents of infants, toddlers, and school-aged children; couples whose children are grown; and retirees.

Some cohousing communities create a shared vision or ethic, but residents typically represent a variety of religious and spiritual backgrounds. Cohousing residents often want to make a difference, which can become a stated mission. Many cohousing community websites demonstrate their commitment to improving the community and the world. For example, at Sunward Cohousing near Ann Arbor, MI, the goal is to create a place “where lives are simplified, the earth is respected, diversity is welcomed, children play together in safety, and living in community with neighbors comes naturally.” Sonora Cohousing in Tucson, AZ, seeks “a diversity of backgrounds, ages and opinions, with our one shared value being the commitment to working out our problems and finding consensus solutions that satisfy all members.” Tierra Nueva Cohousing in Oceano, CA, exists “because each of us desires a greater sense of community, as well as strong interaction with and support from our neighbors.”

Is there a participation requirement

Participation ebbs and flows among individual members as their personal lives allow them to contribute more time or less time to the community. There needs to be a mutual trust among members that everyone is doing what they can at any given time. A minimum level of participation generally includes cleaning the common house or maintaining the commonly owned grounds. Participation is dependent upon the community’s needs.

What about conflict

Conflict happens. One of cohousing’s greatest strengths is the assumption that members can work out their disagreements. Most cohousing communities use consensus decision-making, which tends to satisfy most residents and give them a sense of participation on challenging issues. Some communities convene a conflict-resolution team when a particularly hot issue arises.

Because many cohousing residents are seeking a collaborative and cooperative environment, disagreements are often worked out to the satisfaction of all involved. Cohousing residents share the common goal of making their lives more enjoyable by cooperating with their neighbors.

Bob and Claire Miller are providing ideas and considerations on community cooperation to “get the work done,” in maintaining and sustaining their Wolf Creek Lodge cohousing community. Cooperation...
Tags: Work
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Do you feel safe and secure? Given the appalling violence profiled in daily, that has to be a question that arises for each of us. Despite pleas also constantly voiced that we should not give in to...
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Most people would think that there are no positives in breaking an arm. In cohousing, the decision is more complex. When I was eight years old, I was having a swinging contest with my neighbor Kaden...
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I’ve lived in cohousing for all I can remember- nearly my whole life! When I was 13 months old my family moved into the friendly community that surrounds our everyday lives. When I meet people...
Tags: Children
Views: 1,381
Stone Curves Cohousing in Tucson is sharing their resale marketing strategy. Many thanks to Kat Jimenez and Pen Sand with Stone Curves Membership Team: After less than a year of instituting our...
Tags: Marketing
Views: 743
Californians had a lot of choices for where to visit last Saturday the 30th for Cohousing Open House Day. From Arcata to L.A. to the Bay and Sierra Foothills in-between, 19 communities participated...
Tags: Event, Tags: Tours
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Takoma Village was the first new housing development in our neighborhood in eons. The neighborhood was considered by some as dangerous. Don’t walk home from the Metro after 9:00. Body found ….....
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[Philip Dowds is responding to an coho-l inquiry: while we often discuss the mechanics of creating and maintaining cohousing, what we don’t see as often are discussions about such things as kindness...
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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...
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South Mountain is the northern extension of the Blue Ridge mountain range in Pennsylvania. Nestled in the picturesque foothills of South Mountain just west of the historic borough of Gettysburg,...
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"Aging Gratefully: The Power of Community" (click for preview trailer) is a new documentary by Alan O'Hashi, a filmmaker and resident of Silver Sage in Boulder, CO. Alan's film includes interviews on...
Tags: Aging, Tags: Conference, Tags: Video
Views: 1,440
I've been a group process consultant for 28 years. For the first 26 years most of my work was focused on weathering storms, or training groups in foul weather drills, so that they could better handle...
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Reposted from MidAtlantic Cohousing http://www.midatlanticcohousing.org/cohousing-blog "Happily Ever Aftering in Cohousing: A Handbook for Community Living" is a slim book that packs a big...
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No surprise, but always nice to see data backing up what those living in cohousing communities are already intimately aware of. Researchers asked, what makes for happy homeowners? Not size or...
Tags: News, Tags: Research, Tags: Size
Views: 1,552
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: 2,179
[We received these two responses to our inquiry about experiences of those who have sought "tune ups" to enhance their communities.] From Michael Madera, New View Cohousing (Acton, MA) In April...
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In Christmas of 2012, a year after my family moved to Belfast Cohousing...
Tags: Green
Views: 2,263
I lived in Salina, Kansas for 31 years. Every time I left the house I ran into someone I knew, and often, knew well. Newly arrived in Burlington, I knew only my daughters and a couple of their...
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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...
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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....
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I asked Daniel if we could post this here because it's about a great deal more than wifi. -cat The best advice I can give around wifi is to be careful about how you talk to one another about it...
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"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...
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Our Sunday mornings lately have begun with kale, cauliflower, and heaps of carrots. Once a week, our neighbors gather to harvest veggies from our local community supported agriculture (CSA) farm. It...
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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: 3,542
[Sarah Lozanova is an environmental journalist and communications professional with an MBA in sustainable management. She recently relocated to BelfastCohousing...
Tags: Design, Tags: Green
Views: 1,370
While many intuitively understand the benefits of living in a close-knit neighborhood, some people need numbers to convince them. That's why members of Belfast Cohousing...
Tags: Green
Views: 1,800
A woman in the sociocracy discussion group at the cohousing conference asked about people who join being able to change policies. The group has a pet policy but the new person wants it changed. My...
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In response to recent “aging in place” discussions on cohousing-l, I offered some thoughts on how Washington Village, a cohousing community in the heart of Boulder, Colorado, is well-suited to aging...
Tags: Aging
Views: 1,864
“The disappearance of these once-central relationships—between people who are familiar but not close, or friendly but not intimate—lies at the root of America’s economic woes and political gridlock...
Tags: Stories
Views: 1,030
Rather than teams focusing on support for aging in place, I think it would be better to have a team focused on (1) what all community members need and (2) extending our notions about the abilities of...
Tags: Aging, Tags: Children, Tags: Work
Views: 1,715

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