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.

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Tags: Green
Views: 2,610
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[Sarah Lozanova is an environmental journalist and communications professional with an MBA in sustainable management. She recently relocated to BelfastCohousing...
Tags: Design, Tags: Green
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Tags: Green
Views: 1,994
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Views: 1,636
In response to recent “aging in place” discussions on cohousing-l, I offered some thoughts on how Washington Village, a cohousing community in the heart of Boulder, Colorado, is well-suited to aging...
Tags: Aging
Views: 2,030
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Tags: Stories
Views: 1,193
[Bella DePaulo's introduction: For How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century, I visited so many cohousing communities and had so much to say about them that the book just couldn...
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Sitting on the back deck, summer evening, listening to the birds in the swale, kids in the pool, sunlight fading… It seems to me that living in cohousing is pretty much kid paradise. “Our” kids...
Tags: Children
Views: 1,666
"Cohousing really helps crack the nut of intentional community. We have plenty of privacy and the benefit of abundant community. It’s a great blend." “When you have people who’re watching out for...
Tags: Marketing, Tags: Stories
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I didn’t expect to hear so much birdsong in the morning. I didn’t expect to be able to see so much sky, sometimes the sunrise and sunset on the same day. I didn’t expect to love my apartment so much...
Views: 1,729
I include below a list of things that neighbors can and should not do for neighbors with who need support or health care. One of our residents put this together when we another resident needed more...
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The author (right) enjoys a visit on a neighbor’s porch thanks to its lack of barriers. My neighbor Pete and I are hanging out on his front porch when two visitors walk by on the path....
Tags: Accessibility, Tags: Aging, Tags: Diversity
Views: 5,047
One of the future needs for all cohousing communities is to continue generating support for CoHoUS for developing and training the next generation of cohousing leaders. Just moving in to your new...
Tags: Green
Views: 1,598
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The data for the Cohousing Directory listing and this map is maintained by the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. To add or edit your listing, follow these instructions. Be sure to zoom...
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Views: 1,971
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Views: 2,223
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Grace Kim has written a great article that profiles how cohousing offers a good alternative to assisted living, or to continuing care facilities. This was published in Blueprints for Senior Living...
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Tags: Aging, Tags: Stories
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