Cohousing community in Bridgewater meets quota for older members.
A multigenerational community: The vision for Treehouse Village Ecohousing is a multigenerational community of 30 privately owned homes, together on a shared property with common amenities. Members are developing their community themselves, with the help of professional architects, engineers, and project managers.
The group has long been grappling with how to achieve their vision of a multigenerational community ever since noticing the early trend of the project being more attainable for the older generations. “It’s easier for a retired couple with home equity or savings to commit early on in our development timeline than it is for a working parent or a young professional,” says Cate de Vreede, one of the founding members of the community, “we are very self reflective, recognising the barriers that people face and trying to work towards solutions as a community.”
In December 2018 members took the deliberate step of reserving half the homes in the community for households with at least one member under the age of 40. This includes young professionals or people with dependent children living at home. There are already six younger households fully committed to the project and several more “Explorer members” who are learning about the project and participating in community activities. “We were very conscious of the potential impacts of making a decision like this,” says Cate de Vreede, “we sought advice from a human rights lawyer and have received support from the Human Rights Commission for our Age Diversification Policy.”
Emma Savage is a mother of two moving to Treehouse Village. “We love that the community is intentionally a mix of older and younger folks with all different backgrounds; it will be a really enriching experience for our family.” Pre-pandemic, during the many in-person Treehouse Village gatherings, “it was heartwarming to see other adults in my community take such keen interest in the well-being of my children, and I felt well supported as a parent, too.”
Treehouse Village is seeking more young people and families to fill the limited homes available and fulfill their vision of a multi-generational community. “Becoming an Explorer is really the best way to get to know your future neighbours, ask all the questions you might have, and decide whether cohousing is right for you,” says Emma. For older folks interested in the project there is now a waiting list to join the community.