What Is Cohousing?
What is cohousing?
Cohousing is an intentional community of private homes, townhouses, and/or condominiums, plus shared community space. Each home has traditional amenities, including a private kitchen and bathroom. Shared spaces typically feature a common house, which may include a kitchen and dining area, laundry, guest rooms, recreational spaces, etc. Shared outdoor space may include parking, walkways, open space, and gardens. Neighbors may also share resources like tools and outdoor appliances.
Households have independent incomes and private lives, but neighbors collaboratively plan and manage community activities and shared spaces. The legal structure is typically a homeowner association or housing cooperative. Community activities typically feature regularly-scheduled shared meals, meetings, and workdays. Neighbors gather for parties, games, movies, or other events. Cohousing makes it easy to form clubs, organize child and elder care, and carpool.
Cohousing facilitates interaction among neighbors and thereby provides social, practical, economic, and environmental benefits.
[derived from Wikipedia page on Cohousing]
What is an intentional community?
An intentional community is a group of people who have chosen to live together or share resources on the basis of common values; this can include communes, ecovillages, cohousing, coliving, and student coops. Intentional communities typically model more cooperative, sustainable, and just ways of life.
[derived from Foundation for Intentional Community]
How common is cohousing?
The Foundation for Intentional Community lists 366 communities in the US that include cohousing in their descriptions. Twenty-three of these are in North Carolina. There are at least nine groups in the Triangle that primarily identify themselves as cohousing. (Data from summer 2020.)
How is cohousing different from a commune?
A commune often involves the sharing of property, possessions, and resources, and possibly income and other assets.
Cohousing is about community, with some shared common space and property thrown into the mix. Every member household owns their own unit (condo), participates in some chores and responsibilities, and pays HOA dues. Each member owns and controls their own property and assets.
Will members eat meals together?
In cohousing, it’s not uncommon for there to be some shared meals in a common house or meeting space, where attendance is voluntary. There is a lot of variation in frequency and how these meals are prepared and paid for. Our member households will need to work out what fits for our community, and that of course can change over time. Most likely, any shared meals will be potluck style. There might be a group that organizes such events. Of course, each household has their own kitchen, and can eat whatever meals they like whenever they like.
How will BCC be organized and run?
Bull City Commons is legally organized as an LLC. This will transition to an HOA as our member households complete their unit purchases and begin to move into our beautiful, new building.
Our organizational structure is based on a system called sociocracy, which stresses equivalence, shared power, distribution of leadership, and transparency. People who have attended our monthly business meetings have commented on how smoothly, efficiently, and amicably they are run. Sociocracy prescribes a hierarchy of circles, similar to committees, where each member is assured an opportunity to speak and participate.
We plan to maintain this sociocracy-based organizational structure after we are living in BCC, though some aspects of the structure will evolve to adapt to changing circumstances.
What would my role be?
Each member is expected to join one or more circles, and help to create our community and building. After we move in, we will all continue to have responsibilities and be expected to participate.
I want to know more!
Please see our FAQ page, which covers some other issues!
Please see our Resources page, with many interesting links!
And, of course, please peruse the rest of our lovely website!