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!

7/31/17 On moving day. What does it feel like to move into a cohousing home you’ve been building for years? Exciting! The movers were friendly and right on time and carried all my boxes and...
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Ann Zabaldo started this conversation on the cohousing-l email discussion group, and Katie McCamant added comments: ...in the end … it’s all about sales. You can be ultra green, you can be super...
Tags: Developing, Tags: Marketing
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Ten Tips for Success in Building a Cohousing Community By Marty Maskall, Founder...
Tags: Developing, Tags: Starting
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It’s not easy building or growing anything in a desert, and southern Nevada is no exception. But what manages to survive here, thrives and outlasts its more ephemeral counterparts. That describes our...
Tags: Stories
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Reposted from News from The Cohousing Company: McCamant...
Tags: Conference, Tags: Design
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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
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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...
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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 -...
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"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
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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
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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?...
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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
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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 [...
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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...
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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...
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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
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[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...
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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...
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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
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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...
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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
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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...
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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...
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[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...
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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...
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[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...
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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...
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[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: 3,167
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...
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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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