What is Cohousing?

Cohousing is a unique kind of housing – planned and financed by the future residents. Privacy is balanced with community involvement as households keep their independence, living in homes that are entirely their own, but share indoor and outdoor amenities.

Meals are shared frequently, and people take time to talk and to work together, building and maintaining all aspects of the community.  It’s about creating trust and friendship.

There are more than a dozen completed cohousing communities in Canada, and at least 18 more being planned or built. Across the United States there are 165 built and over 100 forming, providing clear evidence of the growing popularity of this way of life.

Cohousing characteristics

  1. A number of fully-equipped, privately owned homes designed using a participatory process by the future home owners
  2. A site planed and arranged in a way that encourages interaction and community oriented living, with gardens, walk ways and play areas
  3. Shared amenities, usually in a Common House, such as a large kitchen, a dining room a gym or multi-purpose room, library or guest suites

Cohousing in pictures

Visit cohousing

Visiting an established cohousing is one of the best ways to determine if this kind of housing is a match for you. Thirteen completed cohousing communities currently exist in Canada. Check the Canadian Cohousing Network to contact individual communities and arrange for a tour.

Some of the closest cohousing communities to Nova Scotia are in the north-eastern USA. To find these communities, visit the Cohousing.org website.

Cohousing origins

The concept emerged in Denmark about 50 years ago. It was introduced to North America in 1988 by architects Charles Durrett and Kathryn McCamant with the publication of their book Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves.

Since then, well over 150 cohousing communities have been completed in North America. There are 13 in Canada, and there are many more in various stages of development. The concept is quickly spreading throughout the world.

Cohousing resources

There are lots of resources available if you are looking to get more familiar with cohousing. Here’s a list we recommend to prospective members.

Atlantic Canada’s first cohousing community

Treehouse Village Ecohousing is a cohousing community in development in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia