Dominic Castro-Wehr of Nevada City Cohousing and McCamant & Durrett Architects
On the bright side, the concept of Cohousing is becoming increasingly entrenched in the American imagination— with every new project, what was once a culturally radical and shot in the dark neighborhood experiment is now an empirically supported investment into well-being and sustainability.
Cohousing can be a lab for trying out the latest innovations to help us live lighter on the planet.
The goal of this year’s National Cohousing Conference was ambitious – building resilient, sustainable communities – yet I felt a universal reaching; so many of us wanting desperately to learn how to be even more climate conscious than we already are. Let’s not forget, living in community has inherent savings that decrease our carbon footprints. Owning just one lawnmower, sharing meals together in the common house (studies have shown a 25% or more reduction in whole-community energy use during common meals – the one big room being lit for the occasion), and not shuttling our kids way across town for playdates.
Philip Dowds, Cornerstone Village Cohousing (Cambridge, MA)
“Cost of living” refers to all the expenses sustained by a household in the ordinary course of life. It includes, not just the cost of housing, but also the cost of food and clothing, furniture, transportation, medical and child care, and so on. Traditionally, “cost of housing” has referred to the specific shelter expenses of mortgage or rent, property taxes and insurance, and utilities. More recently, condo fees and Homeowner Association (HOA) dues have been added to the mix of shelter costs.
After 10 years involved in self-developing Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage, marked for me with some serious and in retrospect unnecessary growing pains that cost us dearly, I'd like to recommend an invaluable resource I wish we'd had earlier. It’s an online course excellent for forming communities who want to avoid some of the painful process pitfalls we experienced, but at least as valuable for anyone disturbed by the state of our world and interested in human and planetary sustainability.
It’s been almost a decade (seven years) since we traveled to the National Cohousing Conference in Boulder Colorado to learn about how to build our own community in Nashville, Tennessee. We’ve come full circle now with the Conference to be held in Nashville this week.
Back then two of us traveled to Boulder and met two other individuals from Nashville, also attending. They were taking a driving tour through the southwest looking for cohousing. We were surprised to run into other Nashvillians in Boulder that weekend!
Mark Mugarura, Memel Organics Cohousing, South Africa
A few days ago, to my amusement, I learned that cohousing shares a lot of principles with many African cultures. This happened over (way too many) drinks with a filmmaker called Alan O’Hashi following a dinner party at a cohousing community in the small town of Memel, amidst the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa. In fact, I also found out that this is the first and only cohousing community in South Africa (and I assume for most of Africa?) (Why???!).
While tackling the long and sometimes daunting list of tasks required to start a cohousing group, I draw daily upon every prayer, affirmation and inner trick I know to keep the faith and grow the vision. As our core group grows closer, steadily inching toward this goal, we fine-tune ways to share the vision with new people. We rarely encounter negative souls out there…usually quite the opposite!