The Elements of Cohousing

Article excerpt

Anyone who had roommates in their younger days remembers the House Rules, often affixed to the refrigerator door with whimsical magnets. For today's older adults, cohousing arrangements are a far cry from roommate situations or communes, but cohousing includes six main elements that interested people should be aware of:

* Cohousing residents help design the community.

* The community design aims to encourage interaction. For example, parking areas are usually on the edge of communities to encourage residents to walk through the neighborhood on their way home.

* People own their homes but also have the benefit of shared land and common facilities.

* The residents themselves manage the neighborhood.

* Community members have leadership roles, but no single person is the leader of the community. Residents work together to make decisions, most often by consensus.

* Neighbors do not rely on the community for their source of income.

Residents also gather for optional shared meals at least twice a week and take turns cooking and being responsible for meal preparation. …