Cohousing Now!
Building Resilient, Sustainable Communities
Climate Leading Communities    Jenny of CoHousing Solutions & Coho/US
Cohousing can be a lab for trying out the latest innovations to help us live lighter on the planet.

The goal of this year's National Cohousing Conference was ambitious - building resilient, sustainable communities - yet I felt a universal reaching; so many of us wanting desperately to learn how to be even more climate conscious than we already are. Let's not forget, living in community has inherent savings that decrease our carbon footprints. Owning just one lawnmower, sharing meals together in the common house (studies have shown a 25% or more reduction in whole-community energy use during common meals - the one big room being lit for the occasion), and not shuttling our kids way across town for play dates.

But that doesn't stop many from wondering, what else can we be doing, both personally and as a collective to combat climate change? As I mentioned in the Climate Leading Communities network gathering I led on Friday evening during the Conference, communities have the potential to be more than just eco-conscious bubbles, and we have a duty to be beacons for our greater communitiesThe cohousing model is one worth replicating, and I'd argue that community collaboration is essential if we're to truly make serious (and necessary) cuts to our climate emissions.

A conference session I co-led with Bryan Bowen of Caddis dove more fully into this discussion, Cutting Edge Resiliency in Cohousing. Bryan lives at Wild Sage Cohousing, a community where he has a 60% smaller carbon footprint than a dweller of a typical subdivision. Exploring climate saving potential through the lens of built cohousing offers insights for both in-process and well-established communities. 

Guiding questions:
  • How do we push the boundaries of a sustainable lifestyle, with cohousing being the community-full petri dish?
  • What do we build resilient communities to age in?
  • How does the cohousing model empower our children to make a difference in future challenges they'll face?
I'll be dishing out further details from these green-focused sessions at the Conference in the coming weeks. ... . read more
Conferences & Events

A Success!




Join us for the next National Cohousing Conference in May 2019 (location TBD).

For 2018, Coho/US is seeking the support of cohousing communities, professionals and organizations, in producing a regional conference Visit  
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We Enjoyed National Cohousing Open House Day 2017  We were surprised but pleased when a boat load of people arrived just as we opened our doors for the Cohousing Open House Day on April 29th at Durham Cohousing. We had steady visitors over four hours. We estimate 50-60 folks came, which was great! read more...

Cohousing Costs After You Move In: Part I       
Philip Dowds, an off-the-clock architect, is a ten-year resident of Cornerstone Cohousing in Cambridge, and the Treasurer of Coho/US
We want to imagine that cohousing is an intrinsically economical way to live. But is it true? In cohousing communities as well as in "regular" condominiums and Homeowner Associations (HOAs), one may often hear complaints that the annual fees and dues of the community are "too high". But is it true? Too high ... compared to what?
        At this point in the evolution of cohousing in the US, we've accumulated substantial expertise and information about the formation and development of cohousing communities, including how much time and money will be required for a successful development project. Less well understood, however, is what it costs to live in cohousing, and to keep the community running, after development is done and the construction loan is paid off. 
        To help fill this gap in our understanding, Coho/US and CRN (the Cohousing Research Network) have joined to implement an investigation of the actual annual budgets of established cohousing communities. This series of articles presents the investigation highlights as recently presented in the Nashville National Cohousing Conference of May 2017.
.... Read more
Groundhog Day in Plenary      Laird Schaub
I had a phone conversation with a good friend who needed to vent about a frustrating experience she'd had as an outside facilitator.... The group had been struggling with a delicate issue that brought out the more strident and challenging sides of a handful of members and my friend dutifully guided them safely through the thorny thicket of their reactivity. While that's a bread and butter experience for a professional facilitator (you could handle three meetings like that every week...), in this case her teeth were grinding because she'd worked with that group previously, and it was frustrating to realize that the same people were reprising their same roles as petulant adolescents. Though the specifics had shifted, the dynamics had not. Ugh! It was the intentional community version of Groundhog Day!.... While it's often exhilarating for a professional to help a group navigate a mess that they're uncertain how to handle, singing the same refrain a second time is rather like bringing wilted flowers to the altar. What was inspiring the first time was somewhat depressing when the dynamics were on play repeat. What's the point? Is the group learning? While repeat customers are a delight; repeat dynamics not so much..... So why was the needle skipping back to the beginning?  read more  
Coming Full Circle with the National Conference      
Diana Sullivan, Germantown Commons (Nashville TN)
It's been seven years since we traveled to the National Cohousing Conference in Boulder to learn about how to build our own community in Nashville. .... It's amazing how a little knowledge can go along way and make something manifest.  If someone is building an $8-10 million dollar residential development designed as a unique cultural phenomenon like cohousing, can they do it without knowledge?  Of course not. But strangely, like us, you may be naive enough to think you can..... At the end of that conference weekend, with all of that knowledge and enthusiasm, we returned to Nashville. We started and got nowhere. We grew our group and searched for property. Within a year the group was bored with nothing happening and fell apart.....B ut it was the fire from the conference that kept some of us going... Ancient cultures understood the power of long term commitment and building something that would last lifetimes and give their future generations a container to support and hold them with care. That's what cohousing is, a new cultural construct that will be a foundation for generations to come and especially those who will encounter difficult, changing and stressful times.... Strange how we think we can build a $10 million dollar development but can't spend a few hundred dollars to get knowledge at a conference.... in our cohousing journey, we organized again and this time we called on the consultants..  
 
Living in Community
Mark Mugarura, Memel Organics Cohousing, South Africa
To my amusement, I recently learned that cohousing shares a lot of principles with African cultures. This happened over drinks with filmmaker (and Coho/US Board member) Alan O'Hashi at a cohousing community in the town of Memel, amidst the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa. I also found out that this is the first and only cohousing community in Africa.... I am a 35 year old Rwandan marketing professional. I was born and raised in Uganda, went to University in South Africa, and I have had the opportunity to travel broadly to various countries in Africa. So you will forgive me to assert that I have a well-rounded view of a multitude of African cultures and lifestyles.... So back to the dinner party - which was hosted at the beautiful Memel Organics common house by Cindy Burns and Steven Ablondi, a couple originally from Vermont. They had special guests from Boulder, Colorado with intimate knowledge of cohousing. Bryan Bowen and Molly Kostoff with the architectural firm Caddis, and Jamison Brown, a city planner there.  . Read more...
Coho/US Notes
Passing the Baton: New Executive Director Karin Hoskin  
At the Nashville Conference, we were pleased to announce Karin Hoskin as Executive Director for Coho/US, starting July 1st. Karin is a 13 year member of Wild Sage Cohousing in Boulder, joining in its forming stage with her husband Nick and their son Caleb; Karin's daughter Livia was the first child born into Wild Sage. Karin brings business development and entrepreneurial experience, along with nonprofit board service, for the Colorado Midwives Association. 
Fellow Wild Sage member Bryan Bowen, shares: 
Karin is steadfast and her strength anchors people even in the toughest times. She instills calm while staying productive and leads while listening to establish the right path forward.

A Message from Karin Hoskin: 
Hello Neighbors!  In these sometimes challenging times in the world of politics and climate change, the one thing that we can all work towards for humanity is communication and relationship. As Alice leaves to enter the next phase in her life, I am thrilled to join Coho US as the incoming Executive Director with a plan to continue to work towards 'creating community one neighborhood at a time'! I enjoyed greeting and meeting so many people at the Nashville conference and look forward to meeting more of you. If you happen to visit Boulder, Colorado, please contact me, I live in Wild Sage Cohousing and would love to connect with you! karincohous@gmail.com

Established Communities = 165
---Completed = 148
---Building = 18

Forming** = 139
**Thirty three forming groups have acquired land they plan to develop
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Bringing Back the Village 

Chuck talked with Gregory Kellett of Common Grounding on the economics of sharing. Listen to this great interview: 





Anchorage mayor Ethan Berkowitz impressions about Ravens' Roost: "when we celebrate our own diversity, we're supposed to look for different ways of living together, and solving problems together." He described Ravens' Roost as an example of what can be done by a dedicated group of people despite the obstacles they may face in "attempting something new and innovative."

... cohousing hasn't reached its full potential in the U.S. Thomas Barrie (NC State University) believes. "It's not something that's been capitalized yet in America," he said, because housing in the U.S. has been defined as "your private realm."
New Resources








New listings:

Bassett Creek Cohousing (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

Farmington Cohousing (Mocksville, North Carolina)

Waxhaw Coho (Waxhaw, North Carolina)