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.

This recipe was submitted by a woman with a dream of creating cohousing, and I would like to dedicate it to all those out there working to make that happen. Here are a few maxims about creating...
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Here is a recipe from Ronnie Rosenbaum who is an original member of Harmony Village and was involved in the early planning for that cohousing community in Golden, CO. When she moved in 11 years ago,...
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Here is a great and really versatile recipe from Linda Parsons of Bartimaeus Cohousing (Seattle, WA). It is so simple to make and easy to increase or decrease for different-sized groups. The recipe...
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Here are a couple of great recipes from Bonnie Fergusson. Bonnie, 64, works in the lab at the Haight-Ashbury Free Medical Clinic in San Francisco. She lives with her husband Stephen, a technical...
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Liz with her Moroccan Chicken My birthday is May first and last year we had a big Moroccan belly dancing party for all the girls and women in our community. It is in that spirit that I present...
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Lynne McGee This recipe is a hearty winter pasta. It's not vegetarian, wheat-free, or dairy-free, but it sure is good. I asked Lynne McGee if I could use it for the column because it is a favorite...
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What makes cohousing unique is that residents take an active role in determining what kind of a place they’ll live in, like many people did before the age of mass-produced housing. Cohousing is “...
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Special thanks to the many contributors in this book, who wrote and rewrote their stories and put up with my endless requests for more pictures; and to the staff at Fulcrum Publishing, who saw the...
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Edited by David Wann Text and illustrations copyright © 2005 David Wann, unless otherwise noted All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system,...
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The idea for this book was born in typical cohousing fashion—with one cohousing resident helping another. Diane de Simone, a lively soul from Sonora Cohousing in Tucson, knew I was interested in...
Tags: books
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While community living is not a new phenomenon, one must acknowledge that with the success of cohousing, the idea is being spread for the first time on a global scale. If globalization tends to...
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I used to have contingency plans for where I wanted to live in another five years. For a while, it was New Zealand, then upstate New York, then a small town in western Colorado that doesn’t feel the...
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