What is cohousing? In short, they are the ideal neighborhood. Cohousing provides the privacy we are accustomed to with the community we seek. Cohousing communities are legally condominium communities, but there are several big differences. 1. Relationships are paramount in cohousing communities. Your neighbors become your good friends. Members dine together typically once per week, and take turns preparing community meals. Business meetings are held typically once each month. Big decisions are made by consensus, which takes more time but are much more satisfying than decisions by majority. People work together to solve problems and maintain the property and buildings. Members invest a lot of time in the community, and are rewarded with great friendships, a strong sense of community, and strong support in times of trouble. 2. There is more community property in cohousing. In particular, there is always a common house with a dining hall and kitchen. Many common houses also have a children’s playroom, laundry facilities, a library, and a guest bedroom. There is also typically a tool shed filled with community tools. Some cohousing communities also have pools, and most have a community garden. 3. Parking is always on the edge of the property, so that homes are accessed only by walkways. Wagons or carts are used to haul goods from cars to homes. Homes are clustered together to facilitate interactions. Each personal unit has a small private outside area, and there is a much larger common yard that might include a playground. 4. Many cohousing communities place high value on sustainable living, using water and electricity efficiently and generating electricity without fossil carbon.
There are now about 160 cohousing communities in the U. S. We intend to develop one in the Tri-Cities. We've already identified land and a builder, and have a number of interested people involved. More information on cohousing is available at http://www.cohousing.org , with an excellent slideshow . There is also a great book, Cohousing Communities, and a recent article in the New York Times.
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