"What is the "Co" part of cohousing?" a friend asked me recently. In reply, I described the amenities that all residents of Fair Oaks EcoHousing will share: the large salt water pool and spa, the workshop and community gardens, and above all, the almost 4,000 sq. ft. Common House, with its commercial kitchen, large dining hall, guest rooms, crafts room, library, and more.

My friend seemed impressed, but afterwards, I realized that I'd left out the most important "Co" of cohousing, which all of the shared facilities are designed to support--a sense of community. Here is how some current residents describe that less tangible aspect of cohousing:

“It’s not the practical advantages of living in cohousing that are most important to me. It’s the sense of belonging, a real home." 

"It feels like an extended family. You have people you can turn to and depend on for fun as well as the challenges of life."

"Not everyone in the community may like one another, but everyone is central to the well-being of the community. It's a lot different philosophy than me, me, me."

"The idea is that the quality of life comes from sharing."

Multiple quotes drawn from an article in the SF Chronicle: Home is Where the Community is

Karen Anderson