Burlington Cohousing is a multigenerational community in the heart of Vermont’s largest city, directly across the street from the University of Vermont Campus and the UVM Medical Center. We are also adjacent to a 68-acre nature preserve, yet the many varied resources of Vermont’s Queen City are also close at hand. We are about a mile and a half from the lively Church Street pedestrian marketplace and two miles from the shores of beautiful Lake Champlain – so we can walk, or bike, or ride the free shuttle bus that stops outside the Medical Center if we want to head downtown.
Thoughtful environmental stewardship was a primary concern in the design of our community, so we are delighted that more than 3 acres of our 5 acre site are devoted to open space, woods, and gardens – and that solar panels grace the roofs of our buildings, providing power for our common areas plus more to channel back into the grid. Over the years since our opening in 2007, Burlington Cohousing’s eager urban gardeners have helped to reinvigorate our land. In season, our own vegetables, fruit, and berries enhance our common meals. A small flock of thoroughly pampered chickens produces the eggs that we sign up to enjoy. Behind our old farm barn (now a workshop) several hives of bees are hard at work producing honey.
The 32 residential units in our community come in various shapes and sizes. There are ten townhouses (each with 2 ½ or 3 bedrooms), one duplex (with two units that are slightly larger), and two single-family homes (one is the old yellow house that has stood on East Avenue for at least 70 years). At the heart of the community is our largest structure, a four-story building we call “the Queen Mary.” It contains eighteen flats, ranging in size from one to three bedrooms, all accessible either through ground-level doors or by elevator. A roof deck and tree-lined patio provide outdoor social spaces.
The Queen Mary also contains many of the indoors common spaces that play a vital role in the life of our community. Our common living room provides an attractive setting for small meetings and social gatherings, and our well-equipped kitchen makes it easy for us to prepare the tasty meals we serve in our dining room. (In pre-Covid times, we offered common dinners two or three times a week, and we hope to be able to do so again soon. No one ever has to come to a meal, but once a month each of us is expected to be part of a dinner team – and pitching in with a dinner crew provides great opportunities for learning a new recipe or a catch-up chat with a friend.) Post-Covid, our dining room will also once again provide a welcoming space for larger meetings, social events, and community gatherings.
On the ground floor of the Queen Mary, several more common areas have blossomed over the years. There is a multipurpose room with a children’s play area, exercise equipment and a workroom (extensively, if sometimes oddly, stocked with tools donated by residents). We are also proud of our two community guest rooms for relatives and visiting friends (but sad that, necessarily, they are presently closed due to pandemic quarantining restrictions). And, finally, we are well served by our community laundry room equipped with three no-charge washing machines and two dryers (though when the weather cooperates we encourage the use of outside clothes lines).
Who are we? There are currently about 55 people living in our community. We range in age from 1 to 93. Many of us are longtime Vermonters, but we are also delighted that our community includes members who hail from widely scattered parts of the world – from New Zealand to Nepal, from Moldova to Sweden. Our backgrounds, work and life experiences are varied – our numbers include schoolteachers and medical professionals, artists and writers, a lawyer and an architect, an environmental engineer and a social worker, professional cooks and professors. With such a wide range of interests we know we can always count on lively conversation – but we also know that we share a commitment to building a forward-looking, caring, sustainable, and joyous community.
Since Burlington Cohousing is essentially self-managed, we recognize that keeping the community strong requires the active and well-informed participation of all our members. Currently, we schedule monthly meetings where we can make major policy decisions, using a modified consensus governance system. However, most of our actual day-to-day work is accomplished through our various organized committees as well as by the less formal cooperative efforts of our residents — friends and neighbors who value being part of a lively, supportive, and socially responsible community.
If you’d like to learn more and perhaps are interested in becoming part of our community, please check out our web site http://www.bcoho.org and fill out the brief form you’ll find there to add your name to our “Notification List” so you’ll receive information if a unit becomes available.
While pandemic considerations at the moment limit our ability to hold open houses or large social gatherings for on site visitors, we eagerly look forward to post-Covid times — when we’ll again be able to encourage you to come for a tour, join us for a meal or a meeting, pitch in on one of our work days and spend time talking with other folks who live here. We’ll enjoy introducing you to Burlington Cohousing!
- Common House
- Guest Rooms
- Community Garden
- Some units accessible
Welcomes Visitors (fee may apply)
- Common Meals
- Guest Rooms
- Scheduled Tours
- Individual Tours
- Work Days
- Modified Consensus
- 3-5 meals per week
- Everyone participates