Cohousing is a unique kind of housing – planned, financed and owned by the people who become the residents. It’s about creating trust and friendship. Privacy is balanced with community involvement. Households keep their independence, living in homes that are entirely their own. but share tools, gardens, a workshop and more. Meals are shared frequently, and people take time to talk and to work together, building and maintaining all aspects of the community.
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.
To learn more about cohousing, please visit the Canadian Cohousing Network. Their FAQ page is particularly informative for those new to cohousing. We have also added an FAQ page to this website, which has some info more specific to this project.
A number of fully-equipped, privately owned homes designed using a participatory process by the future home owners
A site planed and arranged in a way that encourages interaction and community oriented living, with gardens, walk ways and play areas
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
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 cohousings that are geographically closest to Nova Scotia are in the north-eastern USA (to find these communities, visit the Cohousing.org).
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 now 13 in Canada, and there are many more in various stages of development. The concept is quickly spreading throughout the world.
Kathryn McCamant and Charles Durrett’s book Creating Cohousing: Building Sustainable Communities is an excellent resource and strongly recommended to all prospective members. The Cohousing Handbook by Chris & Kelly ScottHanson is another good resource. We have a few copies of these book available to loan. There are more and more online resources available, including the Canadian Cohousing Network, Cohousing.org, and The Cohousing Company – to name just a few.