Living in Cohousing

Mosaic Commons swingset, courtesy Diana CarrollCohousing residents like to describe their communities as “intentional neighborhoods.” The underlying desire is to have a strong sense of community with your neighbors.

Who are your neighbors

The majority of cohousing communities in the United States comprise 20 to 40 units, with other ranging from 7 to 67 homes. Cohousing attracts a wide range of household types: single people of all ages; couples; families and single parents of infants, toddlers, and school-aged children; couples whose children are grown; and retirees.

Some cohousing communities create a shared vision or ethic, but residents typically represent a variety of religious and spiritual backgrounds. Cohousing residents often want to make a difference, which can become a stated mission. Many cohousing community websites demonstrate their commitment to improving the community and the world. For example, at Sunward Cohousing near Ann Arbor, MI, the goal is to create a place “where lives are simplified, the earth is respected, diversity is welcomed, children play together in safety, and living in community with neighbors comes naturally.” Sonora Cohousing in Tucson, AZ, seeks “a diversity of backgrounds, ages and opinions, with our one shared value being the commitment to working out our problems and finding consensus solutions that satisfy all members.” Tierra Nueva Cohousing in Oceano, CA, exists “because each of us desires a greater sense of community, as well as strong interaction with and support from our neighbors.”

Is there a participation requirement

Participation ebbs and flows among individual members as their personal lives allow them to contribute more time or less time to the community. There needs to be a mutual trust among members that everyone is doing what they can at any given time. A minimum level of participation generally includes cleaning the common house or maintaining the commonly owned grounds. Participation is dependent upon the community’s needs.

What about conflict

Conflict happens. One of cohousing’s greatest strengths is the assumption that members can work out their disagreements. Most cohousing communities use consensus decision-making, which tends to satisfy most residents and give them a sense of participation on challenging issues. Some communities convene a conflict-resolution team when a particularly hot issue arises.

Because many cohousing residents are seeking a collaborative and cooperative environment, disagreements are often worked out to the satisfaction of all involved. Cohousing residents share the common goal of making their lives more enjoyable by cooperating with their neighbors.

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...
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Looking to build a supportive urban community for aging? With senior cohousing and urban living both on the rise, Conference goers will be treated to a case study in both from Lew Bowers. Discount...
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Iowa City Cohousing, aka Prairie Hill, is a sponsor of the National Cohousing Conference. Learn more here: Join Iowa's first cohousing community--Prairie Hill, in Iowa City The members and...
Tags: Work
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...to all of you cohousers who keep your various official documents, minutes, site map, consensus log, new-member orientation materials, etc. on-line - what software or product are you using, and how...
Tags: Resources
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We hear advice on how to live “green” tossed around a lot these days. “Sustainability” is equated with so many different products and actions, it’s hard to wade through the noise to figure out...
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In sociocracy, consent and consensus decision-making are only used for policy decisions. Policy decisions are those that govern actions and allocation of resources (budget, people, etc.). But this...
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Gretchen's Reflection: The benefits of intentional community can sometimes come as a surprise – especially when the community is still in formation, not yet even living together. When members of...
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National Condo Advisors hosted a webinar on "Reserve Studies: Why Every Community Needs One." They have generously provided a PDF of the slides, attached.
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Note: Jessie is sharing one of her graduate school essays, a personal reflection that profiles how cohousing affected her view of the world. I imagine that every child who grew up in cohousing has...
Tags: Children
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There’s a lot of high-tech, computer-managed, log-keeping, badge-triggered access and security technology available for buildings — but in the US, it’s unusual to find such advanced systems serving...
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Thanks for a great 2015 conference. Click here to find out about the 2017 National Cohousing Conference (May 19-21, 2017 in Nashville) THIS YEAR’S CONFERENCE promises an amazing lineup of...
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The author of a recent article in Christianity Today examines how cohousing's "radical hospitality" can be an inspiration and opportunity for churches to follow. Both Alice Alexander of Coho/US and...
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"5 Reasons To Consider Joining A Cohousing Community" in The Good Trade is this week's take on the benefits of cohousing, written by a member of Fair Oaks EcoHousing. This blog's aim is to search...
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Nuturing Cohousing Communities to Help Them Thrive is one of three core areas of the Coho/US strategic plan. We offer abundant resources on our website, and encourage communities to search for...
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In 2000, Bryan Bowen was part of a team of architects working to design Wild Sage, a cohousing community of 34 townhouses in Boulder, Colorado….By the time Wild Sage was completed 12 years ago, Bryan...
Tags: Children
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After two and a quarter years after move in, my Durham Cohousing is considering how to address turnover, when one of our members leaves the community. For many, the thought of valuable members...
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By Katie McCamant | CoHousing Solutions President...
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“The most reliable wealth is found in relationship. I aim to live a life as connected and courageous as possible.” Always exciting to see cohousing enter the national dialogue in new, engaging...
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Reposted from Katie's Insights via CoHousing Solutions Living in community, we have an opportunity to create a culture of appreciation, or not. This doesn't happen casually. I consider myself a...
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One of my favorite pastimes is to build fairy houses in the woods with my friend Ally. We design and build houses out of materials we find in the woods- like pine cones and bark. We’ve become rather...
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I’m back from Star Island off the coast of New Hampshire – a week long intentional community of 300 - where I took a workshop on “global compassion.” I’m personally motivated to help create a...
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Philip Dowds is responding to a coho-l inquiry: is cohousing really a lot more expensive than a similar but bigger house in a somewhat equivalent middle or slightly upper-middle class neighborhood...
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I thought a question on the cohousing email list what causes conflict in cohousing was an interesting one. There was an element of surprise in the question. Do you allow conflict? Sometimes we paint...
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Elements that emphasize the social aspects of community are of highest priority. Without these elements a cohousing community will be little more than a traditional residential development. In fact,...
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Bob and Claire Miller are providing ideas and considerations on community cooperation to “get the work done,” in maintaining and sustaining their Wolf Creek Lodge cohousing community. Cooperation...
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Do you feel safe and secure? Given the appalling violence profiled in daily, that has to be a question that arises for each of us. Despite pleas also constantly voiced that we should not give in to...
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Most people would think that there are no positives in breaking an arm. In cohousing, the decision is more complex. When I was eight years old, I was having a swinging contest with my neighbor Kaden...
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I’ve lived in cohousing for all I can remember- nearly my whole life! When I was 13 months old my family moved into the friendly community that surrounds our everyday lives. When I meet people...
Tags: Children
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Stone Curves Cohousing in Tucson is sharing their resale marketing strategy. Many thanks to Kat Jimenez and Pen Sand with Stone Curves Membership Team: After less than a year of instituting our...
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Californians had a lot of choices for where to visit last Saturday the 30th for Cohousing Open House Day. From Arcata to L.A. to the Bay and Sierra Foothills in-between, 19 communities participated...
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