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.

Grace Kim has written a great article that profiles how cohousing offers a good alternative to assisted living, or to continuing care facilities. This was published in Blueprints for Senior Living...
Views: 2,995
Yesterday, a piece about senior cohousing in the DC area appeared online in Washingtonian Magazine's March 2015 issue. The article features Ann Zabaldo, a cohousing developer and Takoma Village...
Tags: Aging, Tags: Stories
Views: 3,872
We at Fair Oaks EcoHousing are a family-friendly, intergenerational group of households intending to build 30 homes on 3.5 acres. Our community’s start of construction is planned for summer of 2015....
Tags: Developing, Tags: News, Tags: Starting
Views: 3,595
With this entry I'm plowing new ground: for the first time, I'm posting an essay written by a guest author. In this case, Beth Raps, who lives in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia where she operates...
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I was recently in a discussion at home where about eight of us were shining our collective light on the topic of feminism. While there was ready agreement that Dancing Rabbit aspired to be a feminist...
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Personally I object to the use of the word "block" as synonymous with "objection" and this entry explains some of the reasons why. What is a block? This is not a facetious question. If this is the...
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We are completing five months in our digs and five months into the adventure of being a cohousing community. Several people in the community have pointed out that adventure requires missed turns,...
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One of the ways the principles and methods used by sociocracy speed up decision-making is going directly to objections instead of discussing the proposal. The proposal should state the perceived...
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Overwhelmingly, intentional communities can think up governance structures faster than they can staff them. It's a problem. In my experience, communities generally do a fair job of puzzling out...
Tags: Work
Views: 4,213
When people create intentional community they are purposefully choosing a culture that is shifted more toward the "we" end of the spectrum and away from the "I" end. People living in community are,...
Views: 3,235
I’m excited to introduce a new project recently launched at CoHousing Partners: http://www.cohousingpartners.com in Nevada City, CA. I’ve started a Q...
Tags: Aging, Tags: Marketing, Tags: Resources, Tags: Stories, Tags: Video, Tags: Vision and Values
Views: 5,176
Almost all people living in intentional community—as well as those aspiring to—value good communication. After all, the heart of community is relationship and that's pretty hard to develop and...
Views: 1,956
I was struck by Marilynne Robinson's assertion in a recent issue of NY Times Magazine (10/5/14): "Fear has, in this moment, a respectability I've never seen in my life." She was referring to what she...
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What a great community we have at Silver Sage Village ! And if anyone asks about how many it takes to boil a lobster ... the answer is simple: It takes a village to boil a lobster at least the...
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Question: I would like to know the number of units of the smallest Cohousing communities and people's opinions about the smallest number of units necessary for a viable Cohousing community....
Tags: Children, Tags: Connecting, Tags: Design, Tags: Developing, Tags: Size
Views: 6,251
A dance around the maypole is one of the traditions Songaia has woven into its annual Earthday celebrations. How do people in cohousing create traditions? How do we mark the major life events of...
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I had the pleasure of meeting with Laird Schaub and other members of the FIC (Fellowship for Intentional Community) oversight committee, at Shannon Farm Community in Afton, Virginia. To start, this...
Tags: Coho/US
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Posted by Fred Olson on Cohousing-L: From the Cohousing Directory on the number of cohousing communities: Completed: 111 Building 22 Own Site 21 Site Optioned 6...
Tags: Connecting, Tags: Directory, Tags: Research
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Although it's not what folks generally have their attention on when they start or join communities, the other side of the coin is that people leave. To be sure, this can happen for a wide variety of...
Views: 2,235
If I had an emergency at work and had to go to the hospital, there are 12 homes where my children could stay for 48 hours and be completely comfortable. A single mother by choice with two daughters,...
Tags: Children
Views: 2,601
Our Classified Ads are a great place to find a house for sale (or better yet, a home for sale!), a house for rent, a cohousing group near you, a tour, workshop, or other event, and more! If you'...
Tags: Coho/US, Tags: Marketing
Views: 3,529
HOA Pulse is website for Home Owner Associations. It has an excellent newsletter and is also a social media site for with focused discussions for topics related to homeowner association management...
Tags: Finance, Tags: Legal
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Wolf Creek Lodge, an established senior cohousing community in Grass Valley, CA and Phoenix Commons, a cooperative lifestyle community under construction on the Oakland waterfront, will be holding a...
Tags: Aging, Tags: Design, Tags: Starting
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Lately, religious conferences, publications and broadcasters have taken an interest in cohousing. A number of newer projects and groups are overtly religious. At the 2006 Cohousing Conference...
Tags: Diversity
Views: 3,266
Banners on the front of the Tokyo building identify the floors that the cohousing community occupies. As cohousing increasingly becomes a global phenomenon, I've become curious to learn how...
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People often ask me what I consider to be the biggest difference between American cohousing and Danish cohousing. As an architect, I think people are usually asking about architectural features. But...
Views: 1,633
Skills for Committees Slides This presentation is copyright Liz Logan, 2008. Permission is granted to download one copy to share with your community, with attribution. Please call or write if you...
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The best size and number of households seems to be one of the big challenges facing cohousing in America. Cohousing communities in Europe have shown over and again that the optimum size is not too...
Tags: Design, Tags: Size
Views: 2,718
Steve Einstein, Two Acre Wood, Sebastopol, California The other night, I went with the kids to visit some old friends. Their small house was a fixer-upper that they’d spent a good amount of time...
Tags: Stories
Views: 1,593
Keeping a community’s finances untangled takes a team approach and some professional oversight.Two individuals who serve on their respective communities’ financial teams offer a look at the...
Tags: Finance
Views: 6,099

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