Cohousing is a type of collaborative housing, intended to overcome some of the problems of modern subdivisions, such as wasteful use of resources and a poor sense of community. Cohousing arrangements are usually characterized by private dwellings with their own kitchen, living-dining room etc., but also extensive common facilities. The common area(s) may include a large dining room, kitchen, meeting rooms, recreation facilities, library, workshops, lounges, and childcare. Residents of cohousing communities often have several optional group meals in the common building each week.

Cohousing communities are usually designed and managed by the residents. They are intended to encourage and facilitate social contact, mainly via shared spaces. A typical cohousing community has 20 to 30 single family homes along a pedestrian street or clustered around a courtyard.

Cohousing originated in Denmark in the late 1960s, and spread to North America in the late 1980s. There are now more than a hundred cohousing communities completed or in development across the United States.

See also http://www.cohousing.org/.

(Ed. note: hardlinks added 5 January 2003)

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