Considering Cohousing

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Sharing Suppers

At various times, we at Daybreak Cohousing have felt the strain of so much work to do in developing our future home. We realized early on that we needed to be especially conscious of building in pure social time as a balance to all our work, and to ensure that our extended family relationships grow along with the infrastructure.

Our Sharing Suppers were started to give us planned and very flexible social time together. The sharing suppers are scheduled, twice monthly affairs. We set the dates ahead of time, attempting to place them such that they are not too close to other community activities. And then ask for a volunteer host.

Developing and Living the Senior Cohousing Experience

Saturday 10:30 – 12:00 am
Jim Leach and Annie Russell will distill their years of experience developing, and now living in senior cohousing into ten easy to implement guidelines and principles that you can apply to your own development. These ten areas will cover development, marketing and community building.

Laboratories of Social Change or “Yuppie Communes”?

David Wann, Harmony Village, Golden, Colorado

“We need something bigger than we are to be awed by and to commit ourselves to.” —Abraham Maslow

Part One: Chapter One: Neighborhoods on Purpose

What makes cohousing unique is that residents take an active role in determining what kind of a place they’ll live in, like many people did before the age of mass-produced housing. Cohousing is “reinventing community” in the sense that it replaces social values and architectural concepts that were once very common and adds new approaches that are proving useful in cohousing as well as the mainstream market. For example, neighborhood developers such as the Cottage Company based in Seattle, Washington, adapt cohousing features such as common houses, community greens, remote parking, and smaller-than-average houses with great results. Says Jim Soules of the Cottage Company, “We’ve seen a high level of satisfaction among the people who occupy our neighborhoods. For example, not a single resident has complained about the parking, which typically is more than 100 feet from a house.

Introduction: Adventures in Cohousing

The idea for this book was born in typical cohousing fashion—with one cohousing resident helping another. Diane de Simone, a lively soul from Sonora Cohousing in Tucson, knew I was interested in writing a book about cohousing and suggested it be an anthology. She’s a writer and thought about doing such a project herself, but unselfishly offered the idea to me instead. It made perfect sense—a gallery of stories and photographs contributed by the folks who live in cohousing. In keeping with the aims of cohousing, it would contain many different viewpoints, rather than just my own. Together we would present a colorful impression of daily life in this new way of neighboring—we would “dance our story,” as contributor PattyMara Gourley phrases it.


Jenise Aminoff is a freelance writer who lives, works, plays, sings, and gardens at Cambridge Cohousing in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband, Alex, and daughter, Annelise.

Bryan Bowen lives in Wild Sage Cohousing in Boulder, Colorado, with his wife, Dale, and son, Elijah. Professionally, Bowen is an architect who explores how we can live and work while treading more lightly upon our Earth in beautiful, healthy environments. He can be reached at 303-443-3629 or bryan [at] bryanbowenarchitects [dot] com.

Brian Burke has been spearheading recycling projects, including job site recycling during Quayside’sour construction (51 percent diversion from landfill; highest in the region) and producing compost for our urban organic gardens. This is a fine balance for his work teaching and performing whirling dervish meditation. His Web site is


Special thanks to the many contributors in this book, who wrote and rewrote their stories and put up with my endless requests for more pictures; and to the staff at Fulcrum Publishing, who saw the need for a book about how cohousing is working and had a strong commitment to making it the very best book it could be.
And thanks to my good friends and neighbors in Harmony Village Cohousing. We’ve been through so much together—and we’re still talking!

Dave Wann

Reinventing Community: Stories from the Walkways of Cohousing

Edited by David Wann

Text and illustrations copyright © 2005 David Wann, unless otherwise noted

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the publisher.

Interested in a hard copy of the whole book? Reinventing Community can be bought from your local, independent bookstore - find one near you on the IndieBound website. To purchase Reinventing Community online, Dave recommends the Fellowship for Intentional Community bookstore.

Two other titles by David Wann of special interest to cohousers:

Songaia Cohousing Community, An Unfolding Dream

by Fred Lanphear, with contributions from Songaia members

Coho/US has arranged the advance release of portions of this upcoming book (a publisher currently has the title under consideration) - More coming soon!

Text copyright © 2009 Fred Lanphear, unless otherwise noted

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

Is religious cohousing possible?

By John Parsons

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 speaker Kathryn McCamant, while describing the growth of cohousing, half-jokingly asked “what are we going to do when the reli-gious right discovers cohousing?” As religious groups of different stripes explore co-housing, it is important to consider how religion and religious norms might affect a cohousing community’s core principles.

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