What is Cohousing?

Cohousing communities combine the autonomy of private dwellings with the advantages of community living. Initially pioneered in Denmark over 35 years ago, the Cohousing concept reestablishes many of the advantages of traditional neighborhoods and villages within the context of early twentieth-first-century life.

Each household has a private residence, self-sufficient with its own kitchen. The private dwellings are clustered around pedestrian commons with a central common house. Shared activities such as meals, gardening and child care enhance the social connections among residents and often save time and money.

Characteristics of Cohousing Communities

  • Participatory Process: The residents, working with design professionals, influence the design of the site and buildings.

  • Neighborhood Design: The physical design is pedestrian friendly, with parking at the perimeter, to encourage a sense of safety and community.

  • Extensive Common Facilities: Individual dwellings, complete with kitchens, are complemented by community facilities designed for daily use such as kitchen, dining room, play rooms, laundry, guest rooms, gardens, outdoor sitting and play areas.

  • Resident Management: Residents manage their community cooperatively, through a Homeowners Association.

    Kathryn McCamant and Charles Durrett introduced the Cohousing concept in the United States with their book CoHousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves (Ten Speed Press, 1988, second edition 1994). Since the book was published, the concept has received national recognition. Thousands of Americans from all across the country have responded enthusiastically to the possibility of living in such close-knit intergenerational neighborhoods. Working parents, older couples whose children have left home, single parents, singles of all ages, people from all family types are attracted by its practical and spontaneous way of life. Many U.S. communities are now built and occupied. Other groups around the country are in various stages of planning and building their own communities.


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