Cohousing is an aspirational lifestyle. We choose cohousing both because of what it is and what we believe it can be. Cohousing increases joy and ease in our lives. More than that we choose cohousing because of what we believe it can do for our families, our cities, our nation and our world. This page is all about that aspiration. We who live in cohousing know that all of this is real and true. We also know that it doesn’t describe every person’s experience or every moment of life in community. There is a nitty gritty of cohousing and you’ll see it as you explore other pages on this site. On this page, join us in the vision, the dream and the lived experience of cohousing community.
The world is a big place, but with the dominant culture pushing for individual ownership of all things, the planet is running out of resources fast. Cohousing spreads the idea that sharing is not only “normal”, it feels great to do it. Habits of sharing spread from one movement to another including cohousing, community gardens, mini-libraries, permaculture, social justice and more.
Share for our cohousing community.
We adopt a culture of sharing and get used to borrowing and sharing. For us lending to a neighbor or asking to borrow a needed item is completely natural. It means we own less stuff, buy things less often and get more use of the things we own. We also pitch in together to buy things that are owned by everyone together, or maybe just a group that is interested. Living on the same property makes it easy to pass a shared item around so everyone can use it when they want to.
Share for me.
I love lending things to my neighbors. The big canner that takes up space in my closet gets much more use when others use it too, and sometimes they bring me a jar of their canning when they return it. Often we exchange information or tips about the item they are borrowing. Not only are we less wasteful, we’re learning from each other too. When I need something for a short term use, odds are someone has one they are happy to lend.
Cohousing recreates the sense of community that people crave and need to survive. Now more than ever the world’s population depends upon our understanding that we are all one connected whole and that our actions have impact across the planet. Cohousers spread that understanding within communities and out into the broader culture.
Health for our cohousing community.
Healthy communities don’t just happen. Communities of any kind thrive most when their members are intentional about caring for the relationships within them. Living together as we do brings relationship to the forefront of everyday life and ensures that we will be aware of each others needs. Social opportunities abound, making life more enriching for everyone and the community as a whole.
Health for me.
Studies have long shown that socialization improves mental and physical health. I live that experience very day. Living in community gives me more energy, more sense of wellness, more joy. The essential parts of life that are common to everyone become easier. I feel my support system all around me. I find I have new energy in my family relationships as well. Cohousing is a robust and satisfying way of life.
We laugh together. We gather for parties and activities. Games and gatherings spontaneously occur on our greens and courtyards. We find camaraderie with others who love the things we love and enjoy them more by doing them together and discussing them over dinner.
Fun for me.
I get to do things I don’t come up with the ideas for. Sometimes they are things I would never have imagined I would want to do, sometimes they are things I’ve always wanted to do and never had the opportunity. I find myself laughing at silly, unexpected joys, and finding contentment in hobbies reborn with shared interest of my neighbors. I experience more gratitude in my life and smile every day.
Cohousing brings the world together, one community at a time. Cohousing gives people opportunities to mature and grow in compassion and gratitude. Cohousers learn to hold their individual worlds more lightly and see things from a broader perspective. They learn to transform conflicts into learning. As they engage with others outside of cohousing, they bring that breadth and facilitate connections and engagement everywhere they go.
Growth for our cohousing community.
When we choose to live together, we run into the things that help us become the people we are supposed to be. We get better at the things that are lacking in our broader culture. Our community is a sandbox where we explore ideas, structures and ways of being, shifting and improving our collective consciousness. Over time our community discovers the areas that aren’t working and grows in our ability to be connected and collaborative.
Growth for me.
I love living in community, but it isn’t always easy. Sharing with others and making decisions collaboratively has taught me how important it is to really listen to people and look at things from their perspective. I’ve realized how rare these skills are in the broader American culture. The most challenging things about cohousing are precisely the experiences that bring personal transformation and add depth to all my relationships. . Cohousing carried us on a learning curve that helps us become who we want to be.
Americans have forgotten how to do democracy well. Cohousing provides an opportunity for relearning the essential tools of democracy which allow different perspectives to come together and build a unified organization or government. As our numbers grow, cohousers are bringing more and more best practices into the broader world providing new paths to robust democracy. "I largely attribute my intellectual curiosity and prioritization of the collective good to my upbringing in cohousing." - Jessie McCamant Durrett
Democracy for our cohousing community.
Within our community we experience the true definition of democracy: a system of government by the whole population. We are exposed to the richness of diverse viewpoints. Our understanding of issues extends to the full complexity of human relationships. We experience the belonging and safety of being fully heard and valued even when we don’t get our way. It turns out that how we are treated in the process matters more than the outcome. We learn to put more confidence in each other than in policies or rules.
Democracy for me.
In cohousing I am a full participant in governance. I share my ideas, speak my truth, and name my needs and fears. I listen to others and support and value their ideas and needs as well. Knowing that my feelings will be heard and taken into account makes it possible to accept the choice that is best for the group even when it is not the best choice for me. This kind of compromise is essential to democracy and I get to experience it in real life in cohousing.
In cohousing the power of many creates possibility. Projects and passions that are nurtured within cohousing radiate change into the the broader community. When people leave cohousing, they seed other kinds of communities leading to innovations and paradigm shifts. The impacts continue to spread and sometimes return to the communities where they began with broader perspectives and new ideas.
Impact for our cohousing community.
We live in community as a way to be the change that we want to see in the world. We leave behind the isolation that is rampant in mainstream American culture and return to what we know has worked before. Together we build trust in one another. Bit by bit, we are repairing fabric that has frayed in our culture and reweaving the sense of community around our lives. In our cohousing community, we find an answer to what we were missing and yearning for.
Impact for me.
In cohousing I am offered a new normal. I begin to expect a world of collaboration and kindness. When I don’t see that I understand that I have the power to impact those around me to reduce competition and division. Bit by bit I become my best self and invite others to join me in that journey.
For some time, the trend has been toward individual family housing. Cohousing is one of several movements saying, “It doesn’t have to be that way.” Today people have choices about the type of home they want to live in and those choices can have dramatic impacts on their lives. Choosing cohousing means more interaction with others, more social time and less strain on the planet.
Choice for our cohousing community.
We choose as a community what type of community we want to be. At the very beginning we choose what kind of buildings to have and how to arrange them. We choose how often to eat together and how to share the work and costs of common meals. Every day as we live in our clustered private homes, we decide together how often we will work and play together. Because we share resources, we can decide together if we want to support an organization by hosting an event or increase our food production by adding a garden.
Choice for me.
Cohousing lets me choose from moment to moment whether I want to be in a private space or a social space. With neighbors close at hand interaction is right outside my door. At the same time I have plenty of private space to call my own. I can enjoy the retreat of my quiet home whenever that feels right to me.
Cohousing attracts giving kinds of people. Communities include people who are involved in charitable and political work of all kinds. It turns out the giving is contagious and the impact of each person is amplified as neighbors learn from neighbors and close living facilitates collaboration.
Giving for our cohousing community.
We give a lot to our communities. Sometimes we don’t even notice that we are giving. We gather for a work day and spend joyful hours making our common property more beautiful. If there are sore muscles in the end, they mostly remind us of camaraderie and shared accomplishment. We take on projects that make our community richer even as each individual is doing work they are passionate about. Gratitude abounds.
Giving for me.
It’s so much easier to give to others in cohousing community. I have many opportunities to provide nurture and caring. If a neighbor needs to borrow a tent for a camping trip, I don’t have to drive it to their house, I can just drop it off on my way to dinner. Feeding a pet while someone is on vacation is fast and simple when they are right next door instead of across town. I can take a plate to someone who needs one without even wrapping it up, and I probably already know what they like to eat. I love giving to my neighbors. Most of the time it costs me far less than what someone else receives.
We spend less as a community because we gather together to maintain our property rather than paying outside contractors. Working together builds relationships and skills and leaves us with money to buy things that benefit the whole community. The choices we’ve made to reduce our energy usage also reduce utility bills for our common property.
Financial benefits for me.
I spend less living in cohousing because I need less. When I need a thing for just a few uses, I borrow it instead of buying. I don’t drive as much because so many things that I care about are already here. With my need for socialization and connection fulfilled, I’m not as tempted by internet shopping or impulsive purchases. I also save money from our efforts to reduce our use of energy and water. The house itself may cost about the same as other homes, but living in it sure doesn’t.
Cohousing uses fewer of the world’s resources leaving more for the other 7 billion people on the planet. More homes occupy less land than suburban neighborhoods without feeling crowded. Cohousing communities design their structures and the habits to use less energy and invest collectively in green technologies. This reduces consumption of valuable resources as well as pollution and global warming making the world a better place for everyone.
Greener living for our cohousing community.
From the beginning we work together and pool our resources to build the greenest community we can. Once we move in, we share ideas and encourage each other to adopt more and more planet-friendly habits. We share the work of composting and recycling to make it easier for everyone. We share rides to reduce our transportation impact. We surround each other with sustainable ways of being and forget there is any other option.
Greener living for me.
It’s so easy to live green when I am collaborating with others. I learn new ideas over dinner and have all the support I need to implement them by following my neighbors’examples. I do my part with a project that is important to me and am so grateful that someone else manages the compost pile, figures out where to take the batteries and styrofoam, and researches the new solar panels. Trying to be green all by myself was overwhelming. In cohousing I am empowered to live the way I believe I should and feel great about my reduced impact on the planet.
Cohousing provides a model for an interconnected and relational world. In a world that has shifted too far toward individualism and craves an illusive sense of oneness, cohousing shows that collaboration and belonging can be part of everyday life. We are tribal beings who have strayed too far from tribal life. Cohousing offers a proximal tribe where we can relearn a culture of interdependence, preserve the best of individualism, and carry that wholeness into the broader culture.
Community for our cohousing community.
Within a cohousing community we cross paths often, weaving a web of relationship that become our home. Simply stepping outside the front door brings us together, begins conversations, and welcomes engagement. These incidental interactions are expanded in regular gatherings for meals, work days, and social activities. The presence of friendly neighbors becomes so routine we forget that most suburban neighborhoods rarely experience this type of relationship. We thrive in a sense of belonging. We feel secure in the safety of numbers.
Community for me.
I have people to do things with, to help me when I need it, to receive my help when I’m able to give. I laugh more. I spend more time chatting with people I know and less time feeling isolated or filling time with media. When I choose to be by myself, I still enjoy the comfort of knowing people who care about me are nearby and available should I need them. My heart is warmed by the memory of yesterday’s shared meal and last week’s deep conversation. I am nurtured by the energy of community both in my private home and in our shared community spaces.
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