Cooperative Living -
Cohousing As A Community
Imagine downsizing to a community uniquely organized, planned and managed by the residents themselves. A living arrangement where multiple houses are oriented around common open spaces and buildings, cohousing provides an alternative to assisted living for boomers. These communities are designed for residents to live in typical urban or suburban neighborhoods. Cohousing residents are able to socialize and exist as a community while maintaining their privacy. Along with social advantages, cohousing offers many environmental benefits--residents use 25% of the total amount of energy of typical American household on average!
Residents volunteer their time because of their commitment to the idea and their own desire for a more satisfying residential environment. Building a cohousing community is exactly that. It is a community. Residents come together for a common goal of building strong relationships with those around them as they help one another through life's transitions in a healthy blend of privacy and community.
Cohousing began in Denmark after people became frustrated with the available housing options. They developed a housing type that redefines neighborhoods to fit contemporary lifestyles, thus the concept of private households with community living was created.
After several years of studying cohousing in Denmark, American architects Charles Durrett and Kathryn McCamant brought the cohousing concept to the United States. The first cohousing community was Muir Commons, located in Davis, California, which was a inter-generational community. The first senior cohousing was developed in 2005 in Abingdon, Virginia. Consisting of 29 units (16 income-restricted rental homes and 13 privately owns homes), ElderSpirit sparked inspiration for people to start creating similar senior living communities.
A Simple Lifestyle with Respect for the Earth
Conscious of over-consumption, cohousing focuses not only on the residents, but also the environment. Communities are built with the environment and sustainability in mind. In designing a cohousing community, we have a responsibility to water consumption, forestry, waste management, and resource use. Cohousing architecture includes low toxicity materials and create minimal impact on the environment.
Six Components of Cohousing
Deliberate Neighborhood Design
Extensive Common Facilities
Complete Resident Management
Separate Income Sources