Cohousing is an intentional community of friends who live in private homes clustered around shared common spaces, including a large common house. The living units are like any other home, private and with complete facilities. Unique to cohousing, however, is that ownership includes use of relatively large shared spaces: typically a common house with a large kitchen and dining area and other rooms such as laundry, office, workshop, and recreational spaces. Each community chooses the rooms they need.Shared outdoor space usually includes a central green, parking, walkways, and gardens. Cars are parked around the outside of the community. Neighbors also share resources such as tools, landscaping equipment, coffee grinders, etc.Members collaboratively plan and manage community facilities and activities but households have independent incomes and privately owned homes. The legal structure is typically a homeowners association, condominium association, or housing cooperative.
What Do They Look Like?Cohousing communities are individually designed in many styles: free standing houses, attached multiplexes, apartment buildings, and many combinations. Most have a central green, interior walkways, parking along the perimeter, and some windows that overlook the community. This is a gallery of communities across America. Click on each photograph to see a a descriptive caption. In the slide show view, click on each photo to move to the next.Examples of Cohousing Communities. Roll over the image to see the description.
Community ActivitiesCommunity activities feature regularly scheduled shared meals, celebrations, meetings, and workdays. Members and guests gather for parties, games, movies, canning tomatoes, water balloon fights — any event a member would like to organize. Cohousing makes it easy to follow common interests, organize child care, run errands for each other, carpool, and find the missing ingredient when cooking dinner.
Community Relationships & ExpectationsCommunities expect members to participate in the community by:
- Cultivating a culture of sharing and caring
- Interacting with other community members
- Supporting other households with occasional meals for the sick and child care for emergencies
- Respecting privacy and personal preference while also encouraging an inclusive community for all members
- Taking responsibility for facilities maintenance and social event tasks, and participating in governance teams and membership meetings.