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.

Wild Sage Cohousing is thrilled to welcome Coho/US Regional Conference attendees to our community. We’ll be hosting the Board of Directors retreat, holding some of the intensive workshops on Friday,...
Tags: Conference, Tags: Tours
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It’s the first question newcomers ask when introduced to consensus (or consent) decision-making: What if you just can’t agree? My answer is usually, “That’s when the really good stuff happens!” It is...
Tags: Coho/US, Tags: Conference, Tags: Event
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Why is connection so elusive? How can something so universally desired be so difficult to attain in a richly resourced culture like the United States? Especially, how can it be difficult among...
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There are many right answers to how to design a cohousing meal program and some will depend on the size of the community as well as the demographics. We are a 9 household community with 17 adults and...
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First, I have to say I love it here! I was not at all sure I would. Two-and-a-half years of lots of meetings and large potlucks, with little time for one-on-one relating, had made me wonder if I was...
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Isolation is one of the key issues that we face as we age. Women more than men will be in this predicament as women tend to outlive their male partners. Are you rattling around in that big house on...
Tags: Aging
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Thankfulness isn't just for Thanksgiving - there are so many reasons to be thankful for community, every day! (Re-post from Coho Now #108. Not on the list? Sign-up here.). Day 1 Today I am...
Tags: Stories
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Part 2: Common Meal Systems, What's Typical? - 2016 Interview A continuation of my interview with Joani Blank. I had the privilege of interviewing her by phone a few months before her passing. For...
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Part 1: Common Meal Practice Run - 2016 Interview “My illness is messing with my brain, making things fuzzy. But this kind of stuff, I can’t forget it.” The cohousing world lost a pioneer and...
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We evolved to thrive as social-able creatures, back when tribal cultures thrived or failed based on collective action. The experience of loneliness is plaguing greater populations than ever today,...
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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...
Tags: Aging, Tags: Definitions, Tags: Diversity, Tags: Legal, Tags: Vision and Values
Views: 4,717
Loneliness doesn't always stem from being alone. For architect Grace Kim, loneliness is a function of how socially connected we feel to the people around us -- and it's often the result of the homes...
Tags: Coho/US, Tags: Common House, Tags: Connecting, Tags: Food, Meals & Recipes, Tags: Video
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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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In my younger days, I would backpack into the wilderness to set up camp; then we had kids and began ‘car’ camping; we progressed to a Wildernest camper; our kids got bigger and we upgraded to a...
Tags: Children, Tags: Connecting
Views: 1,641
There are many of you that I do not yet know and this is a personal story, but I feel comfortable sharing because we are in community, so each one of you is like my distant second cousin three times...
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What a fantastic week I have had! I was fortunate enough to have visited Eastern Village and Takoma Village in DC (where I enjoyed Bruce’s Cuban Beans). I experienced a ‘near record breaking’...
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Arcadia is a vibrant community 26 years into our central North Carolina experiment with the co-housing concept. The mix of woods with the portion that we disturbed to build upon has morphed into a...
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Part I of this series described how Coho/US and CRN have co-ventured research into the annual budgets of cohousing communities; obtained the annual budgets of 20 communities comprising 611 units; and...
Tags: Finance
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The Cutting Edge Resiliency session I co-led with Bryan of Caddis bloomed into a thriving discussion about what strides we all realistically need to take to seriously combat climate change. We agreed...
Tags: Conference, Tags: Green
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“Cost of living” refers to all the expenses sustained by a household in the ordinary course of life. It includes, not just the cost of housing, but also the cost of food and clothing, furniture,...
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Cohousing can be a lab for trying out the latest innovations to help us live lighter on the planet. The goal of this year’s National Cohousing Conference was ambitious – building resilient,...
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I had a phone conversation with a good friend the other day, who needed someone to vent with about a frustrating experience she'd recently had as an outside facilitator. The group had been...
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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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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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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...
Tags: Conference, Tags: Green, Tags: Research
Views: 1,633
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...
Tags: Stories
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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.
Tags: Finance
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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
Views: 2,026
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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