Creating Cohousing

Mosaic Commons Site Design, by Laura FitchCohousing can be urban, suburban, or rural. A key feature of a community is its flexibility to the needs and values of its residents and characteristics of the site. Most cohousing groups make development and design decisions by consensus, and forge a strong partnership with their professional development team. Because residents design the community themselves, they feel a connection to the land and each other before the physical community is even built.

How a dream becomes reality

Cohousing communities begin with a vision. Future residents soon forge strong ties with one another and develop a sense of community as they work together to organize the group, make effective decisions, and build and grow their cohousing neighborhood. Members of forming groups must decide, “What do we want our cohousing community to look like?” Once a vision is agreed upon, future residents develop the project by finding a building site, designing the community, working through the local governmental approval process, hiring and managing construction professionals and cohousing consultants, and incorporating maximum sustainability principles. Group members will also need to make decisions about the financial realities of their project, including financing options, ownership structures, and project management, that is, keeping the project on track and on budget. The process of turning a cohousing dream into reality is challenging, but the ultimate reward is an innovative and collaborative community to call home.

What does cohousing look like

Most cohousing communities are designed to be compact. Cohousing communities consist of private, fully-equipped dwellings and extensive common amenities including recreation areas and a common house. Many neighborhoods are planned to keep cars to the periphery, which promotes interacting with neighbors and increases safety for playing children. Shared green space is also a key feature – whether for gardening, playing, or socializing. A final key feature is the common house – the “living room” of the community. Cohousing communities depend on cooperation and collaboration, from start to finish.

Residents work together to create a custom-built, resident-managed, close-knit neighborhood that offers a healthy balance of privacy and community. It takes a long time to build a cohousing community, but the process is worth it!

Want to know what other communities have done? You can find examples in our Policy Database, including the collection of Useful Documents done by Laura Fitch and others in December of 2011. To...
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Report: In January 2010, the Cohousing Association of the United States (COHO/US) chartered an Affordable Cohousing Task Group. The purpose was to address the need for more affordable units in...
Tags: Affordability, Tags: Finance
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This summary has been created by the Affordable Cohousing Task Group of The Cohousing Association of the United States (CohoUS). It is intended to be a resource for existing and forming cohousing...
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Many professionals are interested in providing services to forming groups and existing communities. Coho/US does not screen Other Professional listings. Professionals demonstrating cohousing...
Tags: Connecting, Tags: Design, Tags: Developing, Tags: Group Process
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There are some terrific books for people working to create communities. Here are some of them: Amazon.com Widgets If you can't see the Amazon widget above, try turning adblock off for this...
Tags: books
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Cohousing-L is an email discussion list on all aspects of cohousing -- development, design, move-in, organizing work, community life, governance, finances, legal questions, etc. Many cohousing...
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Useful Documents shared by existing and forming communities The purpose of this compilation is to provide a simple way for forming and existing cohousing (and other intentional) communities to...
Tags: Resources
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The first steps in creating a new cohousing community don’t need to be abstract, circular or ambiguous. One of cohousing’s sages updates his worthwhile advice on where a new forming group should...
Tags: Starting
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Oakleigh Meadow Cohousing member and Eugene architect Will Dixon has donated time and his design work to help create Emerald Village Eugene (EVE), a micro-house community for previously homeless...
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Communities designing their common houses often ask about what they will need. What do people really use? What kind of storage is needed and what will go in it? Is an office necessary and for what?...
Tags: Children, Tags: Common House, Tags: Delegation/Committees, Tags: Design, Tags: Work
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The six degrees of separation theory was first proposed in 1929 by the Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy in a short story called "Chains." Six degrees of separation is the idea that all living things...
Tags: Connecting, Tags: Stories
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The U.S. Cohousing Association is a national organization but strives to acknowledge relevant happenings in the wider world related to cohousing. Last week, Elephant Journal, a grassroots news...
Tags: International, Tags: More than Cohousing, Tags: Stories, Tags: Video
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Download the "What is Cohousing?" slideshow from Fitch Architecture & Community Design, or view it below.
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Several years ago there was a post on Cohousing-L related to the community's legal documents that were written in "legalese." I had recently researched Plain English for Lawyers for a neighbor. She...
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I love to see communities reusing old stuff in a unique way. Recently when visiting Greyrock Commons in Fort Collins Colorado, I had the pleasure of touring their common house. Not only do they...
Tags: Common House, Tags: Design, Tags: Green
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Public Presentation Addresses Senior LGBT Housing Crisis Durham, NC— Village Hearth Cohousing invites anyone interested in solving the senior LGBT housing crisis to a free public presentation on...
Tags: Aging, Tags: Developing, Tags: Diversity
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When I saw a blog on a cohousing website, I realized that we have missed the boat on using blogs to market cohousing. By reading the informal accounts of personal and community events, I felt this...
Tags: Connecting, Tags: Diversity, Tags: Marketing, Tags: Starting, Tags: Stories
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7/31/17 On moving day. What does it feel like to move into a cohousing home you’ve been building for years? Exciting! The movers were friendly and right on time and carried all my boxes and...
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The last nails are being hammered in. Fresh paint still clings to the damp air. In Port Townsend, Washington, residents of the newly-built Quimper Village Senior Cohousing eagerly await moving into...
Tags: Aging, Tags: Conference, Tags: Connecting, Tags: Event
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Ann Zabaldo started this conversation on the cohousing-l email discussion group, and Katie McCamant added comments: ...in the end … it’s all about sales. You can be ultra green, you can be super...
Tags: Developing, Tags: Marketing
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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...
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Ten Tips for Success in Building a Cohousing Community By Marty Maskall, Founder...
Tags: Developing, Tags: Starting
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Bringing Back the Village - Interview with Charles Durrett via Common Grounding http://www.cohousingco.com/blog/2017/5/15/bringing-back-the-village
Tags: Starting
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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...
Tags: Developing, Tags: Starting
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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...
Tags: Developing, Tags: Starting, Tags: Stories
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Ravens’ Roost, Anchorage’s first cohousing neighborhood celebrated its grand opening last month (on April 3rd), marking a monumental achievement of vision and persistence in bringing the idea of a...
Tags: Developing, Tags: News
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It’s not easy building or growing anything in a desert, and southern Nevada is no exception. But what manages to survive here, thrives and outlasts its more ephemeral counterparts. That describes our...
Tags: Stories
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Would you love to use your marketing and social media skills for the benefit of cohousing communities, while furthering cohousing's presence and credibility nationally? CoHousing Solutions is...
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Then sign up for the “Roadmap to Starting a New Community” intensive on May 19 at the National Cohousing Conference! When the initial members of Quimper Village started talking about building a...
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Reposted from News from The Cohousing Company: McCamant...
Tags: Conference, Tags: Design
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