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.

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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Tags: Children
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Tags: Marketing
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By Katie McCamant | CoHousing Solutions President...
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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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Tags: Children
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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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Tags: Work
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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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Tags: Children
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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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Takoma Village was the first new housing development in our neighborhood in eons. The neighborhood was considered by some as dangerous. Don’t walk home from the Metro after 9:00. Body found ….....
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I've been a group process consultant for 28 years. For the first 26 years most of my work was focused on weathering storms, or training groups in foul weather drills, so that they could better handle...
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Reposted from MidAtlantic Cohousing http://www.midatlanticcohousing.org/cohousing-blog "Happily Ever Aftering in Cohousing: A Handbook for Community Living" is a slim book that packs a big...
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No surprise, but always nice to see data backing up what those living in cohousing communities are already intimately aware of. Researchers asked, what makes for happy homeowners? Not size or...
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This post is on a neighborhood discussion list and will be seemingly off-topic but bear with me. Our neighborhood list, TakomaDC where Takoma Village Cohousing is located, started in the 1990s by...
Tags: Connecting, Tags: Group Process, Tags: Resources
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[We received these two responses to our inquiry about experiences of those who have sought "tune ups" to enhance their communities.] From Michael Madera, New View Cohousing (Acton, MA) In April...
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