Cohousing Features

Read more about cohousing in “Creating Cohousing” by Kathryn McCamant and Charles Durrett.

Every cohousing community is unique in terms of its diversity of residents, location, architecture and amenities, but they all share a set of common characteristics:


Participatory Process
Resident participate in the planning and design of the housing development so that it directly responds to their needs.

Intentional Neighborhood Design
The physical design encourages a strong sense of community, amplifying the social, economic and environmental benefits of living near neighbors you know and trust.

Private Residences Balance with Shared Spaces
Each family – i.e. singles, couples, single parents, or couples with children – has their own home with modern amenities. However, outside green areas, a playground, a common house, and other common areas are designed for daily use to supplement private living areas.

Resident Ownership & Management
The cohousing community is planned, owned and managed by its residents, making decisions of common concern at community meetings.

Non-Hierarchical Structure & Decision-Making
Leadership roles naturally exist in cohousing communities, however no one person (or persons) has authority over others. Most groups start with one or two “burning souls.” As people join the group, each person takes on one or more roles consistent with his or her skills, abilities or interests. Most cohousing groups make all of their decisions by consensus, and, although many groups have a policy for voting if the group cannot reach consensus after a number of attempts, it is rarely or never necessary to resort to voting.

No Shared Community Economy
The community is not a source of income for its members. Occasionally, a cohousing community will pay one of its residents to do a specific (usually time-limited) task, but more typically the work will be considered that member’s contribution to the shared responsibilities.

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