Cohousing: Know Your Neighbors, Love Your Neighbors

Looking at headlines and breaking news alerts on your smartphone, it seems that divisiveness has become commonplace in our modern world.  Protests, marches, and bipartisan governmental battles are the norm.  In stark contrast the increasing prevalence of cohousing aims to change this.

Cohousing communities are neighborhoods of private houses built around a shared common space.  You might be looking for a cohousing community for any number of reasons: if you value community, if you aim to expand use of renewable resources, or if want to form close friendships with your neighbors.

Cohousing is based on the idea that strong communities create strong people.  While each family has their own home, they are designed around a common area for gathering.  Each individual home has all of the amenities of a typical single family residence allowing families to still enjoy their privacy and individual time, but by far the most important aspect is the kinship of neighbors.  

The communities are designed around a shared common space run by the equivalent of an HOA.  This might include open areas, gardens, and recreational spaces.  There is also often a community house with shared kitchen and laundry spaces for neighborly bonding.

While members of cohousing neighborhoods are under no obligation to be involved in the community, most who do live there take advantage of the neighborly aspect. Cohousing residents can easily arrange childcare, plan parties, and create clubs with their neighbors!

Furthermore, cohousing communities are arguably more eco-friendly.  The houses are smaller and therefore take up less land space.  They also use less materials for construction and save on heating and cooling for residents.  In addition, members share supplies and therefore consumption of non sustainable resources is minimalized.   

Here in Colorado we have a plethora of cohousing communities in Arvada, Bayfield, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver, Fort Collins, Golden, Littleton, Longmont, Louisville, Lyons, Mesa, Paonia, and Ridgway.  If you’re looking for a more established community some have been around since as long as 1992 while others are just now in the construction process.

If you are interested in learning more about cohousing communities visit their website at http://www.cohousing.org/ or check out the cohousing conference from April 20-22 in Boulder.

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