Cohousing: A New Community Lifestyle

September 13, 2019
Cohousing isn't just a future project for retirement communities. Younger generations are also taking an interest in this lifestyle. Read on to learn all about it!

Cohousing is much more than just a trend. It’s the future, a new way of living for retirees. A community of houses with shared open spaces to do many activities. All of this in a natural setting where you can enjoy nature and also companionship.

Why not try it out? Why don’t you plan a project like this with your friends? Small and comfortable houses where you share resources in a senior community built for you. It’s a very tempting idea, especially now that loneliness is so common in our societies and among senior citizens.

These types of projects aren’t new. Cohousing first stemmed in Demark in the 70s. During the 80s, these communities were common in cities such as Oakland, Berkeley, Bellingham, and Washington. They house some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the country. Nowadays, you can find cohousing communities in Europe and Japan.

A well-organized cohousing project can be beneficial to your overall health. Current community models don’t encourage human connections. In this ever-changing, sophisticated, and advanced society, it seems that our ideas of how we’d like to grow old are becoming more traditional.

A cohousing community.

Cohousing, companionship, and quality of life

In this hyper-connected world we live in, people are almost always under pressure. In this world, your work life isn’t always in tune with your personal life. You have to deal with schedules and commutes and live in small and contaminated places.

Many factors are making cohousing a more attractive alternative among younger generations. Younger generations took an interest in this kind of life. A study Dr. Jo William conducted at the University of Manchester shows that people long for positive social interactions.

Cohousing has an architectonic and ecological goal: to recreate the model of conscious living in a socially-connected community.

Collaborative environments for all needs and ages

The cohousing lifestyle isn’t just focused on senior citizens. Nowadays, many different types of people have created these communities. In them, you can find young people that know the kind of life they want to live, families starting anew, and even successful professionals who are divorced or even retired.

Likewise, some communities champion intimacy, in case that’s what you want, while others focus on an ongoing social connection. There are many kinds of communities to choose from, but remember that cohousing focuses on companionship, collaboration, and sharing time and resources.

A cohousing community in Canada.

It’s all in the balance

Many groups of friends have created cohousing communities from scratch. They bought plots of land and simply started building houses. Likewise, you can also find finished developments that are move-in ready.

Furthermore, the greatest thing about them is their perfect balance between privacy and community. Unlike other communities, each person can keep their earnings and you don’t need to sell products with your neighbors to keep the community afloat.

These communities have some architectural guidelines:

  • In the community, there needs to be a common houseThis is where the common spaces such as the dining room, kitchen, playground, music areas, offices, libraries, workshops, laundromats, and meeting places are located.
  • Everyone agrees on the maintenance and chores. Meetings are scheduled to schedule chores and organize events and projects, among other things.

A Danish cohousing community.

Collaborative environments and ecology

One of the most interesting sides of cohousing is how eco-friendly they are. These houses aren’t just based on natural landscapes, they’re designed to encourage sociability and solidarity by trying to use natural resources (such as electricity with solar panels).

In short, cohousing is a reality. These communities exist all around the world and different generations enjoy being part of them.

  • Lietaert, M. (2010). Cohousing’s relevance to degrowth theories. Journal of Cleaner Production18(6), 576–580. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2009.11.016
  • Williams, J. (2005). Designing neighbourhoods for social interaction: The case of cohousing. Journal of Urban Design10(2), 195–227. https://doi.org/10.1080/13574800500086998