What Is Cohousing?

Cohousing is a wonderful way of living in community with others who have also chosen to live in a close-knit community. Members eat together, work together, and play together.  Specialized knowledge, tools, childcare, and transportation are often shared to help out a neighbor.

In most cohousing communities, most residents own their own home, and share both indoor and outdoor common spaces.  A shared Common House is used for community meals and other activities, such as meetings, concerts, art projects, and celebrations of personal and community milestones.  The Common House usually contains guest rooms to accommodate visiting family and friends of members.  The Common House may also contain spaces such as playrooms, exercise rooms, laundry facilities, and library.

Members of the community do most of the work of maintaining the Common House, land, gardens, and other community resources.  Decisions are most often made using a consensus process.

Cohousing was first brought to the United States from Denmark around 1985.  There are currently approximately  110 cohousing communities in the U.S.  In addition, about 100 groups are working on planning or building a new cohousing community.


More information about cohousing can be found at Cohousing Association of the United States.

The following books also contain much useful and interesting information about cohousing and about building a cohousing community:

  • Kathyrn McCamant and Charles Durrett, with Ellen Hertzman: Cohousing A Contemporary Approach to Housing 2006, Ourselves.  2003, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA.
  • Chris Hanson: The Cohousing Handbook: Building a Place for Community.  1996, Harley & Marks Publishers, Inc., Point Roberts, WA.
  • Diane Leafe Christian: Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities. 2006, New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, BC Canada.