Cohousing Now!
Collaboration and Tune Ups

With our enthusiastic world of cohousing ever expanding, we might forget that cohousing is a relatively small piece of the intentional community universe; I find it humbling and inspiring all at once. The Global Ecovillage Network held a 20th anniversary summit earlier this month at Findhorn Community in Scotland. Sky Blue, the incoming Executive Director of the Fellowship for Intentional Community, blogged about his participationand hinted at a new North American network that might involve a merger with FIC.

Coho/US is pleased to be collaborating with FIC, an umbrella group of all sorts of cooperative living arrangements: communes, ecovillages, land trusts, homesteads, student co-ops. Collaborations include the Cohousing Directory (which pulls from FIC's Communities Directory); cross promotion of events and resources; and FIC's bookstore at National Cohousing Conferences. Another great blog from Sky shares, "the relationship between Cohousing and Intentional Communities, particularly as represented by Coho US and the FIC, has evolved over time and is a success story in inter-organizational cooperation. Cohousing has always sought to be a more accessible model of shared living than other forms of intentional community, and, early in its life in the US, was reticent to associate too closely with 'hippie communes.' This was understandable because of mainstream perceptions but didn't necessarily reflect the reality of the diversity of intentional communities. But over time the movers and shakers in both worlds started interacting and even overlapping, and there was a recognition of how closer association could be beneficial for everyone."

I recently met with Aurora DeMarco, FIC's new Development Director, who has a wealth of ideas for supporting cooperative cultures; one possible collaboration with Coho/US is the creation of local resource centers. We were fortunate to have Laird Schaub join us, and I took the opportunity to inquire about his work with cohousing communities seeking rejuvenation - towards expanding this opportunity to our many communities who are cycling into maturity, and could benefit from a "tune-up." Laird profiled this work, and the increasing requests he is receiving, in his blog The 100,000-mile Community Tune UpI applaud those communities who have sought such a "tune-up;" what was your experience? How can Coho/US support enhancement efforts? 

Alice Alexander, Executive Director

Conferences & Events
Interested in partnering with Coho/US to produce a regional conference? Share your creative ideas with us! Read more...
August 14, 15, & 16, 2015 in Riverside, CA  with Katie McCamant and Chuck Durrett,  two of the premier architect-developers of cohousing. The workshop will provide a detailed overview of the cohousing development process. Cost is $200/person or $300/family (scholarships available).

What is Cohousing and Why Should You Care? 
with Alice Alexander,  September 19, 2015 (Dallas, Texas)
S ponsored by Dallas Cohousing and The Grove 

Labor Day Weekend Sept 4-7, Louisa, Virginia
This annual event is a chance for people interested or involved in intentional communities, cooperatives, and community based organizations to share ideas, network, and enjoy a weekend together. Formal workshops, open space, as well as many informal opportunities to cross-pollinate.  
October 9-11, Mendocino County, California
Join other community explorers in the splendor of nature for a weekend of skill-building, networking, and celebration that promises to inspire and educate. Whether you are brand spanking new to intentional communities or have been living in them for years, plentiful opportunities for all to grow their own skills and knowledge.
Kids in Cohousing 
Katie McCamant, CoHousing Solutions
Sitting on the back deck, summer evening, listening to the birds in the swale, kids in the pool, sunlight fading...

It seems to me that living in cohousing is pretty much kid paradise.  

"Our" kids at Nevada City Cohousing, like most American kids, go off to a variety of schools (local public, charter, home school), but when they are home in cohousing, they enjoy a level of freedom and safety few Americans do today. We have about 35 kids, ranging in age from one-year-old's to the occasional returning college student. The "kid culture" is one of acceptance and inclusion of all ages. That didn't just happen; that happened because we have very pro-active parents who helped establish a healthy kid culture from the beginningread more

The 100,000-mile Community Tune Up                 

Laird Schaub

I've been a group process consultant for 28 years. For the first 26 years most of my work was focused on weathering storms, or training groups in foul weather drills, so that they could better handle heavy seas themselves. In the last 18 months, however, there's been something of a sea change. In addition to the crisis management work I've always gotten, I've been hired to help five different cohousing communities struggling with who they are, 12-20 years after move in. Plus I've gotten inquiries from a handful more who are thinking about hiring someone to help with reinvigoration, to reset their gyroscope. Apparently it's a trend. What's going on? read more 

Prospective Buyers Trying out Cohousing
Philip Dowds, Cornerstone Village Cohousing (Cambridge)

My experience is that cohousing communities, like people, have distinct and different personalities. Some operate with formality (adherence to rules and procedures), and some with informality (seeking what makes sense and feels right in the immediate context); neither approach is inherently right or wrong. Some cohos are largely harmonious, with just a couple of no-show participants. Other cohos are divided into camps that see things very differently - and then also acquire a camp of drop-outs having low tolerance for controversy. Some cohos have lots of kids, some do not; the adult experience varies accordingly. And so on. read more 

Building Community
Not on Everyone's Map                      By Jerry McIntyre

True story: for three years my wife and I looked for a small town to call home. People thought we were crazy to leave Portland, Oregon where we had met, married, and gave birth to our precious son. The ever-growing popularity, the crowds, the traffic, the ever-escalating prices, the pace in Portland all motivated us.

A small town and a Waldorf school to continue our son's well-rounded education ("head, heart, hands") was all we asked. What we found were resort towns with ever-growing popularity, ever-escalating prices, ... same old! Then we came to the last little town on our list: Viroqua, Wisconsin. We'd never heard of it. The Waldorf school there was approaching its 30th anniversary. We headed to the Midwest to look......We learned that America's largest organic farmers' cooperative has its headquarters here, and the county has the highest concentration of organic farms in the nation. 

Read more

End Notes
Outreach Associate at Coho/USMira Danyel Brisk
Joining the Coho/US team for a few hours a week is talented and enthusiastic Mira Brisk.  Mira's passion for community building and being a positive influence on her direct neighborhood as well as the world at large drew her to discover and dive into the world of cohousing . Co-ops and community living were part of daily life while at Oberlin College and she has been an active part of communities of various forms since. This experience built skills and understanding to deal with the complexities of community life as well as a deep appreciation for its benefits. As she works to develop the first cohousing community in Charlotte, NC, she looks forward to connecting with and 'watering' current communities and 'seedlings' all across the country!

Established Communities = 152

Completed = 129
Building* = 23
Own Site = 22
Forming = 93

*Many building communities have residents but continue to add members and build homes.

"What a great and inspiring time we all had at this year's very well organized and managed national conference, and thanks for the hard work of the many volunteers and new Executive Director of the Association, Alice Alexander.  It really feels like the cohousing movement and the national Association have taken a big step forward this year."  
Jim Leach, Wonderland Hill and Silver Sage
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Cohousing as a State of Mind 

Charlotte's local NPR invited members of Jubilee Cohousing (Walter), Charlotte Cohousing (Mira) and Durham Coho (Alice). From Jenny Godwin's blogI found it a great reminder of the importance of being actively in educator-mode..there were a number of assumptions and preconceived notions within the host's find a broader audience, sometimes starting from the ground up is just the right place. Walter's words stuck with me: "Cohousing is changing the way people typically operate." 

Cohousing developments on the rise in Madison

 "My daughters tell their friends their mom is living in a commune," laughed

Kelly, who moved into Arboretum Cohousing when it was built in 2008. When a daughter came to visit, she told her mom the development seemed like "a giant dorm for grown-ups."


It takes a village: the Temescal Creek Cohousing Community Local public radio in San Francisco: A solution to the Bay Area housing crisis...Temescal Creek is a cluster of two story houses...There's a shared garden, play yard, chicken coop and even a solar hot tub...started with three duplexes, and now has 12 units--about 20 adults and 10 kids.

We reached an important milestone in our project: Fair Oaks EcoHousing closed on the purchase of 3.7 acres in Sacramento in June.       Mary Claus


For some in Dallas area, cohousing is becoming a neighborly thing to do

Angela Alston and Hugh Resnick, who once lived in a 4,000-square-foot "monstrosity," are making a second attempt at a cohousing project

more news 


Tag Cloud - new!

Cohousing Directory - New


Forming groups, not yet listed: 

* Mission Peak Cohousing (Freemont CA)

* The Commons at Windekind

(Huntington VT)
* Zenspiration (Denver CO)
* Troy Gardens (Madison WI)
* Raincross Cohousing (Riverside)

more on the Cohousing Directory