Peter Goldstein, the founder of Boston’s newest cohousing initiative, Bay State Commons, is grateful for the wider community. “Every single time that you speak to people who have been involved in cohousing, they will give you their hard-won pieces of wisdom about what to do and not to do,” Goldstein said.
For Goldstein, and others like him, intentional communities can be the antidote to a prevailing model of society that they find constraining or unfulfilling — a model that presents marriage, a house, 2.5 kids and a prosperous career as hallmarks of a fruitful adulthood. “When I look back on parts of my life when I have felt fulfilled, or where I’ve produced the most positive memories, they have always been times when I’m involved in some kind of tight-knit community,” Goldstein said.
“Cohousing is a type of collaborative housing in which residents actively participate in the design and operation of their own neighborhoods. Cohousing residents are consciously committed to living as a community. The physical design encourages both social contact and individual space. Private homes contain all the features of conventional homes, but residents also have access to extensive common facilities such as open space, courtyards, a playground, and a common house with a large kitchen and dining room/meeting room and other facilities.”
These characteristics serve to distinguish cohousing from other types of collaborative housing:
- Participatory process
- Neighborhood design
- Common facilities
- Resident management
- Non-hierarchical governance structure and decision-making
- No shared community economy
There are more than 100 cohousing communities in the United States with many others around the world. The best source of information is the website of the Cohousing Association of the United States (CohoUS).
My vision that I have is arriving home at the end of the day and you’re in your usual burnt out state,” said Goldstein, who is planning the future Bay State Commons shared dining room. “You’ve done your work, you’ve done your commute and [have] all these little things that are bugging you – and [then] sort of opening the door into the common room and just sort of having that Cheers Bar moment.
Full Article by Beth Treffeisen
Creating Community: Boston Cohousing