When growing up in community, you have instant playmates available at any moment as mentioned in this article by Kathryn McCamant (full article)
"When "our kids" get home, all they have to do to find entertainment is walk around the community. Who's out? Any kids playing on the central walkway? Anyone in the common house? No kids, but neighbor Joannie asks me to help her set the tables for the community meal. She generally has good cookies at her house; good to keep her happy. Then back to the central walkway where now a kickball game is starting..."
Also described is a community family as in this article A Big Family: Growing Up in a Cooperative Community published by Husdson Valley One (
"When Martina Compain moved to Cantine's Island Cohousing in Saugerties with her parents, she was eight years old. She missed her friends in New Paltz. She continued to attend her old school, and had some play dates with friends. But it wasn't the same.
After a fairly short time, Martina found friends in the new community. "There were a lot of kids living here; Karla, Otto, Amelia, Jasper Eli, Jonah and my brother," she said. "Even though my old friends weren't up here, I had my extended family." In fact, she said, the Cantine's Island family came to be closer to her than her blood relatives. While she saw her neighbors every day, she only rarely saw her aunts, uncles and cousins.
Martina Compain is the first to return to the community after growing up there. She's back with her baby, living in her parents' home for the time being. "The thing I loved the most about the community is that it was just a big family," she said."
But what more might there be? I like to think that young people growing up in community are being exposed to some other thoughts and opinions than in their nuclear family. That they are being given the opportunity to try new experiences with neighbors such as eating different cuisines or participating in unique activities. Perhaps they are organically learning communication techniques by being exposed daily to many types of people with a wide variety of personalities.
Courtney Martin (see her TedTalk 'The New American Dream'" is writing a piece for Curbed on the first generation of American kids that have grown up in cohousing. As you all well know, cohousing is about 25 years old in the U.S. so there is a small, but mighty crew of kids now navigating the world with the sensibility of having grown up this way. She'd like to understand how it has affected them. To gather information Courtney has created an evaluation, if you grew up in community and are interested in sharing your experiences visit this link to evaluation. P
arents of kids who grew up in cohousing, please feel free to share this link and encourage your 'kids' to participate!
Conferences & Events
This regional cohousing conference is for :
People that want to learn about cohousing, how to create it or live it
Those that are forming a cohousing community, whether you're just starting or already building
Residents who currently live in a cohousing community
Architects, developers, planners or other professionals interested in creating communities
We will have general sessions for existing communities regarding maintenance and adaption as well as how to have fun and get along! There will be topics for both senior
and multigenerational communities. And we are pleased to offer some interesting topics such as farming and aging in relation to cohousing.
Pre-conference intensives offer presentations on governance, communications, marketing, cohousing for seniors and a hands on cooking for community intensive.
The conference weekend will not only be packed with useful information, but have
plenty of time to network! Laura Fitch will be offering a public presentation
'Cohousing 101' on Friday night. On Saturday Laura Fitch and Mary Kraus will be welcoming everyone and introducing Storyteller, John Porcino. Pioneer Valley
Cohousing is hosting a Saturday night dinner party. And to complete this fantastic weekend, there will be various optional tours on Sunday including these communities:
Cambridge Cohousing, Cambridge, MA
Camelot Cohousing, Berlin MA
Cornerstone Village, Cambridge, MA
Jamaica Plain, Boston, MA
, Berlin MA
New View Cohousing, Acton, MA
Nubanusit Neighborhood & Farm, Peterborough, NH
Pathways Cohousing, Florence, MA
Pioneer Valley Cohousing, Amherst, MA
Rocky Hill Cohousing, Florence, MA
Stowe Farm Community (aka Katywil), Colrain, MA
Village Hill (building site), Northhampden, MA
Thanks to our sponsors Caddis Architecture, schemata workshop, Fitch Architecture and Community Design, Wonderland Hill Development, Cohousing Solutions Inc., Village Hearth Cohousing, the Fellowship of Intentional Communities and Mary Kraus Architect.
The 2019 National Cohousing Conference Committee has been hard at work planning next year's event. To that end we've put together a survey and hope to get input from those just starting out as well as those who've been in cohousing for many years. Everyone who completes the survey will be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift certificate to the FIC Bookstore. To link to the survey,
And here's what we already know... so SAVE THE DATE!
National Cohousing Conference
May 30-June 2, 2019
Hilton Downtown, Portland, Oregon
Community for the Health of It
Keynote: Courtney Martin author of The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream
There'll be something for everyone - those exploring the idea, newly forming groups or existing communities.
* Cohousing Bus Tours & Open Houses
* 2-days of
* Multiple Tracks of Workshops for Building It - Living It - Sustaining It
* Facilitated Discussions
* Networking Opportunities
complete the survey now to be entered into the $100 drawing.
by August 15th to be entered in the prize drawing.
Conference Co-chairs: Ann Lehman, PDX Commons, Grace Kim & Sheila Hoffman, Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing
We are sad to say goodby to Cindy Turnquist as she completes her CohoUS BOD term. While serving on the BOD she was the vice-chair and co-host of the very successful Aging Better Together Cohousing Conference held in Salt Lake City. Her passion for seniors in cohousing began several years ago and continues strong!
Cindy founded SageHill Partners, a small development company, in 2014 to bring a new model of senior housing, inspired by senior cohousing principles, to Utah. She is passionate about the benefits of aging in community and measures her success by her ability to provide a meaningful and positive impact on Utah's aging population; including, innovative housing solutions, promoting purposeful living, and fostering community-based services. In addition to leading the Coho/US Aging-In-Community Initiative Cindy was also a founding member of SAGE Cohousing International. She holds a degree in Architecture Technology and Construction Management, with an emphasis on green building and universal design.
Cindy has recently directed her attention to rural living in Utah. As a member of the Utah Commission on Aging she understand the challenges ahead with our growing rural senior population. Rural and small-town seniors have fewer housing options than their urban and suburban counterparts. SageHill is currently leading an effort to start an interdependent senior village in Cindy's home town of Kanab. Nestled amidst an array of state parks, national parks, and national monuments, Kanab and surrounding Kane County is a magical land filled with world-famous landmarks and stunning spaces that are still largely unexplored. And the best part? It's spectacular any time of the year.
Re-introducing Karen Gimnig. She joined the BOD beginning November 2017, then accepted a VP position in February but is temporarily stepping down from BOD into an Associate Director position for CohoUS. Karen's primary responsibility will be managing a website project by collecting, organizing and drafting content resulting in a dramatic overhaul of our cohousing.org website.
The new site, which we expect to roll out in 2019, will be more modern and mobile friendly. We're also adding many more pages with updated information and making the information easier to find. We'll be keeping (and upgrading) favorite features like the directory and the classified ads.
Karen will be sharing our progress along the way and she appreciates your feedback. She has
reviewed your answers to the survey we sent out in October 2017. She has some new questions this time and is hoping to get some different folks responding as well. We want to know what you want to see in the new site and how you might be able to help us make it great. So please take a moment to visit and complete this
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Oldies but Goodies
A Tour is Worth a Thousand (or More) Words
by Joani Blank, Swan's Market Cohousing
March 28, 2014
Many years ago while living at Doyle Street Cohousing in Emeryville, CA, I casually mentioned to a visiting tour group that I planned to offer my unit for sale within eight or nine months because I would be moving to Swan's Market Cohousing in Oakland upon its completion. The next day, a woman who'd flown up from Los Angeles to attend the tour called me up and offered to buy my unit for about $20,000 more than I was thinking about listing it for. She's happily living there still.
Several years ago, a group of eight tired but happy participants of a tour I had just led in Northern California sat together in Swan's common house while my co-leader and I were tidying up the meeting room. Without any encouragement from us, the tour participants spontaneously formed a new core group. A few weeks later they combined forces with a few members of an inactive group in the area. Around that same time, some short-term renters here at Swan's invited a friend over for an afternoon visit. Later that evening they all shared a common meal with Swan's residents in the common house. The friend hadn't heard of cohousing before her visit that day, but a few weeks later she traveled to Arizona and decided to purchase a unit in a cohousing community there.
Words don't hold a candle to the real thing.
Those involved in cohousing know the difficulty of describing what cohousing is to those who are unfamiliar with it. We're usually busily explaining what cohousing is not. No, cohousing communities are not "new millennium communes." No, we are probably not what you imagine when you hear the phrase "intentional community." No, we do not screen out people who do not share our religious, political or social ideology. No, we don't all live in a shared house. No, we don't share all our meals in a community dining room. No, we're not really like a kibbutz. And on and on. Sure, we'd rather be positive, telling folks how it really is to live in cohousing. If we're lucky we get to explain that unlike some other kinds of collaborative housing, each household in cohousing has a complete residence with its own real kitchen. We tell others that we're heavily involved in planning for the place where we will be living so that it meets our needs and desires. We explain that we self-manage and mostly self-maintain our communities. We talk about how we use consensus as a process to make decisions and nurture our sense of community. And we emphasize that those who want a lot of privacy can have it in cohousing. Those of us who already live in cohousing communities will tell you, however, that these explanations don't hold a candle to the impact of showing friends, relatives and other visitors around our communities. And folks who have visited a friend living in cohousing (especially if they've shared in a common meal) or those who have attended one of the day-long cohousing tours that visit between five and seven communities, universally come away with a good sense of how things really are where we live.
Tours often attract likely buyers
As the tours coordinator for the Cohousing Association of the United States (Coho/US) for several years, I planned and led or co-led over a dozen cohousing tours in California, Colorado,the Seattle Area and Massachusetts.
Most people who participate in these tours are folks who are curious about living in cohousing communities and want to learn more about them. The tours also usually attract a few people who are already members of a forming group or a community being developed, a couple of professionals (developers, planners, builders or architects) who are considering working with a cohousing group, plus a graduate student or two. Some of the participants who are considering living in cohousing are looking far ahead because they don't expect to afford to become homeowners in the near future. Many others, however, say they've been looking for something "just like this" for years, and several report that they would be willing to sell their current residence and move into cohousing "right away" if a unit of the right size and price were to become available in one of the communities on the tour.
Joani Blank has lived in cohousing since 1992, has visited over 70 of our built communities, and has led or co-led ten Coho/US-sponsored cohousing tours in California and eight elsewhere in the US. She was formerly the Association's national tours coordinator.
Born: July 4, 1937 - Died: August 6, 2016, Oakland, CA
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