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What is Cohousing?

Neighbourhoods built by and for the residents

In addition to a fully equipped private home and garden, cohousers also have a common garden and a common house in which functions are shared. Cohousing is not the same as living together in one house.

A cohousing district tries to restore the sense of neighbourhood of a traditional village. In a cohousing project, the neighbours know each other and there is a social engagement.

Cohousing solves a number of urban development bottlenecks: smarter use of space, quiet neighbourhoods, safe play areas for children, more compact construction, more green space conservation and attention to water management.

Cohousing projects are residential projects for and by the residents. Cohousing is turning traditional project development upside down: we look for the future residents first. They are given the opportunity to dream, think, plan and build their own neighbourhood. In order to build really demand-driven, it is essential that the future residents manage a large part of the design process and develop a neighbourhood that meets their needs.

 

The Design

Cohousing neighbourhoods consist of 6 to 36 fully equipped private residences with their own kitchen and bathroom, as well as extensive common facilities. The common areas include a ‘common house’, a pedestrian street, playgrounds, recreational areas, etc.

A cohousing project is designed by the residents themselves in accordance with their needs. The common house is also designed by the residents. The common house could have a kitchen with a large dining area, a laundry room, a children’s playroom, a television room, a coworkingspace, a workshop, a music room, a studio, guest rooms, and so much more.

The architecture offers an increased chance of interaction between the neighbours. The houses are grouped along a pedestrian road or a square. The parking is at the edge of the site, creating more traffic-free space and open green space. The same principles can be applied to an apartment building.

 

Who could live in a cohousing neighourhood?

Anyone can live in a cohousing project.  The ideal group consists of a mix of singles, couples, families with children and elderly. In this way you get a small balanced mini society where the combined skills complement eachother.  Someone who is retired may want to babysit some children, while the younger generation can take on heavy jobs.

Cohousing tries to combine the advantages of privately owned homes with sharing common facilities and an increased sense of community. Privacy is very important in a cohousing neighboorhood. Cohousing has nothing to do with communities who share more than a common sense of privacy would allow for.

Moreover, cohousing is plain and simple a more smarter way of living. After all, there are many things you don’t need every day, such as guest rooms, lawnmowers, swings, tents, children’s bicycles, your car…  You can easily share them with neighbours. So you get a lot richer in one go.

Try to attend an information session about cohousing in your area to learn more about it.

Come to an information session if you want to know more about cohousing. Click here for dates and registrations.