Cohousing communities are resident-developed, cooperative neighbourhoods
where individual homes are clustered around a common house. The common house has
shared facilities such as a dining room and areas for child care, workshops, and
laundry. Each home is self-sufficient, with a complete kitchen, but
resident-cooked dinners are often available in the common house for those who
want to participate.
These developments are unique in that they are organized, planned, and managed by the residents themselves. By redefining the neighbourhood concept to better suit contemporary lifestyles, cohousing communities can create cross-generational neighbourhoods for singles, families, and the elderly.
Cohousing was "born" in Denmark, in the 1960's, out of a desire to create cooperative housing that satisfied the needs of people with changing lifestyles. Cohousing developments in Europe range in size from six to eighty households, with the majority between fifteen and thrity-five.
This form of community development was brought to the USA in 1988 by Kathryn McCamant and Charles Durrett, a wife-husband team based in Berkeley, California. In the USA, over 150 groups are in development and more than twenty are complete. In Australia Cascade Cohousing is one of three competed cohousing developments.
According to McCamant and Durrett, the projects are "based on democratic principles that espouse no ideology other than the desire for a more practical and social home environment."
--From The Cohousing Quarterly
Other resourcesWikipedia entry on cohousing
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Last modified: 29 September 2007