Cohousing Now!
Aging Better Together Conference
Registration Open: The Time is Now
Aging Better Together: The Time is Now
Raines Cohen, Cohousing Coach and Certified Senior Advisor, Aging in Community

The stereotype and dominant paradigm of cohousing communities as they've developed over the past quarter century in the U.S. is that our neighborhoods are great places for kids, the next generation, families, call it what you like. We're all about the "village" it takes to raise a child, in the eyes of many.

But if you look at the reality of who is living in cohousing today, I gotta say, we're old. And getting older. The first generation of kids in many communities have grown up, and the empty-nesters left behind are saying "now what?" Many of our communities' founding pioneers and wise elders are facing life changes and even mortality, and bringing consciousness and fresh perspectives and awareness to all of us.

Cohousers are into building community and taking care of one another. And the Boomers (which many of us are) have been reinventing society's institutions as they age. So it should come as no surprise that Boomers are embracing cohousing as a tool for maintaining their independence, building interdependence through their own creativity as an alternative to entering institutions where their needs are met, at great expense and with loss of control. 

We are all finding ways that our communities need to change as we learn and grow, as we age and our priorities and needs shift. The  Aging Better Together  conference, coming up this May in Salt Lake City, brings together cohousers and community creators from all over for deep conversation on the topics that really matter. See the schedule hereread more...
Conferences & Events
Conference | May 20-21, 2016 | Salt Lake City
Produced by Coho/US and SageHill Cohousing

Click on logo above for conference details

[Join Laird's Community Conversations Intensive at the Aging Conference]
Almost all intentional communities do not expect to be able to provide support to members through end of life. While it may work out to provide that for some, there are a number of reasons why it may not work out in all cases. What are the limits of support for basic needs that the community can provide members with diminished capacity? Read more

Catalyst Sponsors

Supporting Sponsors
National Cohousing Open House Day  Saturday April 30, 2016
Has your community registered yet? This is a unique opportunity to promote your community along with others around the country; a great way to strengthen the bonds within and between communities while attracting people to your waiting lists. Are you on the List?! read more
25 Years and Still Going Strong:  Muir Commons & Cohousing in America
Charles Durrett, McCamant & Durrett Architects 
This year Muir Commons celebrates its 25th anniversary. This means 25 years of cohousing in the US! Even at the very beginning of this project (in Davis, California), Katie and I could envision other cohousing communities taking root in the U.S. It was a dream we shared with many others. Since the creation of Muir Commons, we at McCamant & Durrett Architects (MDA) have helped this cohousing dream become a reality for more than 50 communities. It has been both our honor and privilege to talk the cohousing talk with the members of these communities, and then walk the cohousing walk with them, from inception to move-in and beyond. As we look forward to 2016, we share remembrances from Muir Commons. The timeless spirit captured by these images and thoughts are indicative of cohousing communities around the country....  read more  
Building Skills and Community In South Africa, Cont'd
Cindy Burns and Steven Ablondi, Memel.Global, South Africa
[Cindy Burns profiles the continuing journey made with Steven Ablondi of their work and impact in South Africa in creating the first cohousing community on that continent, in Memel.] 
Our annual sojourn to South Africa has proven difficult, with no rain and the hottest temperatures in recorded time. We have had to cut back on all of our vegetables because I can not water plants with people lining up in the streets for drinking water. I am struggling just to keep the perennials alive. The entire country is suffering. We talk more about rain here in South Africa than I bet any of you in America talk about Trump.  Steven and I have just entered our 8th year of retirement in Memel. Our little "project" has grown proportionately. We now have our Bryan Bowen designed rammed earth three unit guest house up and running with paying guests over the holidays..   read more  
The Passage into Elderhood 
Laird's post is relevant to our  Aging Better Together Conference, with sessions on "conscious aging" and "the power of purpose."
I recently received an interesting invitation, asking if I would write about elderhood, and what it means to make a purposeful transition into that stage of life:
Elderhood is certainly one of the least celebrated and recognized transitions in our culture. I was struck that when we moved to community last year, my partner was the oldest one there. I felt the lack of elders holding the powerful space, witness, and wisdom. In many ways, I know that we are re-forging the proper fires of initiation and becoming. I know that those fires were mostly out for my parents and grandparents, though rite of passage happens anyway (just not as consciously, powerfully, or prayerfully). I am reaching out as younger here, hoping that when I reach this threshold, I'll know a little bit more about it. There will be a little more collective wisdom in the fire. I consider you a being who is expressing and embodying your elderhood with beauty and wisdom.
Building Community
The Village People Seeking All Things Nature 
Midori Batten & Peggy W, Piedmont Ecovillage (Richmond VA)
The Village People (as we sometimes think of ourselves) first met through Richmond Cohousing, though we soon realized that our preference was for a more rural lifestyle, where our wish to be surrounded by trees, ponds, and all things nature might be easier to achieve.  We're a diverse group (diversity which we aim to foster) with a like-minded streak that lends itself to interests in permaculture, sustainable energy, water reclamation, green building practices, passive solar houses and an open-mindedness and open-heartedness, generally.  It's created a new social bracket that falls somewhere between neighbors and family. What to call it: Eco-family? Intentional co-housers? Kindred Co-spirit-ors? Call it what you will, it's made getting acquainted feel more like getting re-acquainted. .. .    Read more
Coho/US Notes
Many Thanks to These Communities who Gave in 2015
Coho/US exists to nurture our cohousing communities, established and forming. We are grateful to these communities who have invested in our organization, enabling us to provide programs that benefit all of us. Sustaining Communities in bold have pledged $300 or more for 5 years.

Acequia Jardin    Albuquerque       NM
Arboretum Cohousing   Madison WI
Ashland Cohousing Community    Ashland OR
Arcadia Cohousing   Chapel Hill NC
Bellingham Cohousing   Bellingham WA
Berkeley Cohousing   Berkeley CA
Blueberry Hill      Vienna   VA
Burlington Cohousing East Village Burlington VT
Casa Verde Commons     Colorado Spring CO
Cascadia Commons    Portland OR
Charlotte Cohousing   Charlotte NC
Coho Ecovillage Corvallis OR
Cornerstone Village Cohousing    Cambridge MA
Daybreak Cohousing    Portland OR
Doyle Street   Emeryville CA
Durham Central Park Cohousing    Durham NC
Germantown Commons    Nashville TN
Great Oaks Cohousing    Ann Arbor MI
Green Grove Cohousing    Forest Grove OR
Higher Ground Cohousing    Bend OR
Island Cohousing   Vineyard MA
Jamaica Plain Cohousing   Jamaica Plain MA
Manzanita Village    Prescott AZ
Monterey Cohousing       St Louis Park MN
Mosaic Commons    Berlin MA
Mountain View Cohousing    Mountain View CA
Nevada City Cohousing   Nevada City CA
Nyland  Lafayette CO
Pioneer Valley Cohousing   Amherst MA
Pleasant Hill Cohousing   Pleasant Hill CA
Renaissance Village Homes    Sacramento CA
Rocky Hill Cohousing       Florence MA
Rosewind Cohousing   Port Townsend WA
Shadowlake Village   Blacksburg VA
Shepherd Village   Shepherdstown WV
Silver Sage Village    Boulder CO
Songaia Cohousing   Bothell WA
Swan's Market    Oakland CA
The Commons on the Alameda    Santa Fe NM
Three Trails Cohousing    Independence MO
Trillium Hollow   Portland OR
Two Echo Cohousing   Brunswick ME
Valverde Commons   Taos NM
Wasatch Commons   Salt Lake City UT
Wolf Creek Lodge    Grass Valley CA
Yulupa Cohousing    Santa Rosa CA

Established Communities = 161
Completed = 135
Building* = 26
Own Site = 21
Forming = 97
* Many building communities have residents but continue to add members and build homes.
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National Geographic
...Like any community, these progressive villages are works in progress. Belfast Cohousing recently installed a backup solar array, because it needs power to pump water from its shared well. At EcoVillage Ithaca, construction is finishing up on a  third neighborhood that includes seven homes certified under the ultra-efficient  passive house standard.   
It's all part of being a "living laboratory" for sustainability, founder Liz Walker says: "We're trying to pioneer things that actually work." 

Kathy Gottberg, SmartLiving365

I've barely touched on the cohousing concept and am intrigued by some of the positive stories about people living in these communities. For that reason, during the coming year I plan to seek out some of those who are already making it work and report it back to my readers. In addition, I have signed up to attend a conference in May, "Aging Better Together" to explore the value and benefits that cohousing might offer us all.

"Quimper Village is now more than just a dream," said project CEO David Hundhausen. "We'll start construction this spring and be moving in the fall of 2017."  [Come hear more at the Aging Better Together Conference where David is a presenter]

Says Lacy Allen, 32, a founder of forming community Jourdan Valley:  "We didn't want to share income or make hammocks," she said, laughing. "There's no Kool-Aid involved. We just wanted something that was more like a community than just a suburb."

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