As we move closer to selecting the homes we will move into, I find myself second-guessing my preference for the size of my unit. Some days, I feel confident with the choice of a two-bedroom and then when I look closely at how much living space I actually use, I change my mind, believing that I could be completely satisfied in the space of a one-bedroom. After all, we will each have storage lockers … Flip … flop I go.
Emphasis for first time home-buyers is heavily oriented to the importance of price on choice (Kumar 2018). But once price stops displacing other decision points, the factors influencing home selection are diverse including social, psychological, health-related, economic, and environmental dimensions (Roy, et al. 2018). Although many of the factors in this research may be relevant to deciding to buy into and join a cohousing community, when it comes to considering the size of your home, there are some other things to consider.
First, our 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom units are generally scaled down from what you might expect for square footage. The cohousing design emphasizes shared spaces and smaller private spaces with the rationale of encouraging members to be out and with others. The common spaces are larger than a conventional condominium would provide.
At Treehouse Village, aside from approximately 12 acres of forest, some of which is old growth, with walking trails, there are built spaces that we will share: a Common House and a workshop/science centre as well as developed outdoor spaces – the Common Green – with extensive gardens and lands tagged to be developed as orchards surrounding the built community.
With these differences, the idea of cohousing is that there is a shared feeling of ownership of all the common space, built environment, and shared materials, and as a result, we will share both its care and enjoyment.
For some of us, this will require a shift to a shared ownership mindset where we will live in those shared spaces making, shaping, and occupying space as our needs and desires arise, all the while preserving the individual ownership of our private spaces.
Hmm … thinking this through again, maybe I’ll stick with a one-bedroom unit!
Kumar, Y., Khandelwal, U. (2018). Factors affecting buying behaviour in the purchase of residential property: a factor analysis approach. International Journal on Customer Relations, 6(2), 27-32.
Roy N, Dubé R, Després C, Freitas A, Légaré F (2018). Choosing between staying at home or moving: A systematic review of factors influencing housing decisions among frail older adults. PLoS ONE 13(1): e0189266. https://doi.org/ 10.1371/journal.pone.0189266 (Figure on page 22).