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.

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...
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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: 2,360
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
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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
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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...
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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
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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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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
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Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) welcomes guests to a Casablanca party at Doyle Street Cohousing in Emeryville, CA. (Photo by Evangeline Welch) Editor's note: This list first appeared in our Fall...
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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: 5,415
A poignant and humorous description of a teenager living in community.
Tags: Video
Views: 1,392
Cohousing is a hoot – it really is. When I walk onto the site after a hard day at work and chat with a couple of the 37 kids, or see cutie one-year-old August smiling in his mother’s arms, well, it...
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The temptation to use technology to make life more convenient, more practical, or just jazzier – whatever the cost – is always with us. In our Nevada City cohousing community, we adopted online...
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Perhaps your cohousing community is located in reasonable proximity to others, so that a multi community tour would be feasible. But wherever your community is located (close to or far from other...
Tags: Tours, Tags: Marketing
Views: 2,328
One of Heartwood’s younger contingents enjoys a spring brunch outdoors. I want to thank those of you who have sent me recipes. I really appreciate it and will try to use them in future articles. I...
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Mary’s Sesame Noodles was a hit at a recent Friday night potluck. This month I have a great sesame noodle recipe that can be served hot, warm or cold. It’s easy, inexpensive and a whole meal by...
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This recipe was submitted by a woman with a dream of creating cohousing, and I would like to dedicate it to all those out there working to make that happen. Here are a few maxims about creating...
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Here is a recipe from Ronnie Rosenbaum who is an original member of Harmony Village and was involved in the early planning for that cohousing community in Golden, CO. When she moved in 11 years ago,...
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In the summer here at Heartwood, common meals become more casual. Lots of people come and go on trips, so spontaneous gatherings often occur to welcome home weary travelers. The grill gets fired up,...
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Here is a great and really versatile recipe from Linda Parsons of Bartimaeus Cohousing (Seattle, WA). It is so simple to make and easy to increase or decrease for different-sized groups. The recipe...
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Here are a couple of great recipes from Bonnie Fergusson. Bonnie, 64, works in the lab at the Haight-Ashbury Free Medical Clinic in San Francisco. She lives with her husband Stephen, a technical...
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Liz with her Moroccan Chicken My birthday is May first and last year we had a big Moroccan belly dancing party for all the girls and women in our community. It is in that spirit that I present...
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Lynne McGee This recipe is a hearty winter pasta. It's not vegetarian, wheat-free, or dairy-free, but it sure is good. I asked Lynne McGee if I could use it for the column because it is a favorite...
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A Veggie Dish Even the Kids Will Love Here is a recipe from Douglas Larson, a single dad who has lived at Songaia for seven years now. He enjoys working in Songaia’s expansive garden. He has an...
Views: 1,650

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