WHAT IS COHOUSING?
Cohousing is an intentional community of private homes clustered around shared space. Neighbours maintain independent incomes and lifestyles, while participating in a ‘sharing economy’ that enriches their lives. Each home has traditional amenities, including a private kitchen. Shared spaces feature a ‘common house’, which may include a larger kitchen and dining area, and recreational spaces used for children’s play areas, yoga, music, woodworking etc…, as well as guest rooms. This amenity is used on a daily basis by many in the community, allowing homeowners to build a smaller home for themselves. Shared outdoor space includes gardens, open space, walkways and parking.
The legal structure is typically a condo association. Community activities feature optional regularly-scheduled shared meals, meetings, and workdays. Neighbours gather for parties, games, movies, or other events. Cohousing makes it easy to form clubs, organize child and elder care, and carpool.
Essentially we are just neighbours helping neighbours, but together we are able to offer lots of shared spaces and provide many shared resources, allowing us to live in more socially conscious and environmentally friendly ways. After all, not everyone needs to own a lawnmower and snowblower – or even hammers, saws and screwdrivers – we believe that encouraging a culture of generosity and sharing increases our quality of life and can decrease our consumption of materials and energy.
COHOUSING IS GREAT FOR FAMILIES!
Benefits for Children
Children can walk out the door and play: friends are close by and play spaces are visible from homes, like the good ol’ days! ;-)
Play in the physical world, in person with other children
All the adults in the community are known and trusted
Shared experiences with mixed age groups and different generations together
Benefits for Parents
No more need to administer your child’s social life!
Optional community dinners almost every night. No need to plan and cook meals for just your family unless you want to.
No streets and cars zooming by! Even young children can just walk out the door and play.
Model a lifestyle of being part of community
Friends are all around you; no need to carve out time for socializing—it’s all right here!
Perfect balance between privacy and village life. Each household has a private home, but many resources are shared, both formally and informally.
characteristics of cohousing
Decision making is participatory and often based on consensus.
Self-management empowers residents, builds community, and saves money.
Cohousing communities support residents in actualizing shared values.
Cohousing communities typically adopt green approaches to living.
---Info via www.cohousing.org---
Neighbours commit to being part of a community for everyone’s mutual benefit.
Cohousing cultivates a culture of sharing and caring.
Design features and neighbourhood size (typically 20-40 homes) promote frequent interaction and close relationships.
Balancing Privacy and Community
Cohousing neighbourhoods are designed for privacy as well as community.
Residents balance privacy and community by
choosing their own level of engagement.
Savings in Cohousing
In a typical neighborhood, there aren't many savings to quantify. Those we do calculate are typically a factor of only our own home. Cohousing is different and wonderful in this respect. The savings to a cohousing resident come in many forms...
Parenting with Ease: Families often collaborate on childcare needs in cohousing, minimizing a family's budget for babysitters. With safe, care-free spaces for kids to play, there's less time shuttling kids to play dates.
Common Meals: Eating with neighbours provides enormous savings when compared to eating out. Eating common dinners can cut down on preparing for nightly, single-family meals. Many communities purchase in bulk, so it's not unreasonable to have a filling dinner for $4-5 in the common house.
Need-it-now Backup: Ever been ready to bake a cake and realized you're short on flour? In cohousing, your neighbour will probably have both flour and some baking advice. Need a tent, an extra bike, or a spare iPhone charger? In community, one email will generally get you many options to choose from.
Common Facilities in Cohousing: Many cohousers look at the common house as an extension of their own residence, because it acts as such a valued part of their day-to-day living - from meals to yoga classes to their child's piano lessons. Your share of the common facilities is at least equivalent to buying an extra bedroom outside of cohousing.
Less Maintenance: When buying into a new cohousing project, your home will need much less maintenance than an older home requires.
Hosting Made Simple: Guests can reserve rooms in the Common House, so you don't have to find them a hotel nearby or rush to clear out your spare bedroom (if you even need one).
Community Sharing: One lawnmower, and a common house tool shed with equipment to use, for example.