Cohousing; a Perfect Place for Community to Grow
“The good life is built on good relationships.”
On this TED Talk, Robert Waldinger shares the results of a study designed to discover “what keeps us healthy and happy as we go through life”. He reports: “The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this; good relationships keep us happier and healthier.” I can’t think of any better way to ensure quality good relationships than with today’s upgraded version of the neighbourhood; cohousing.
Are you familiar with Cohousing? From Wikipedia: “Cohousing is an intentional community of private homes clustered around shared space. Each attached or single family home has traditional amenities, including a private kitchen. Shared spaces typically feature a common house, which may include a large kitchen and dining area, laundry, and recreational spaces. Shared outdoor space may include parking, walkways, open space, and gardens. Neighbours also share resources like tools and lawnmowers.”
If the word “neighbourhood” doesn’t make you feel wistful and a little nostalgic, then maybe you didn’t grow up in a neighbourhood like the one I did. My siblings and I were among seventy-five children living in homes that faced a young city park. The park had a little pond that meandered from one side to the other, with two small footbridges spanning it, one at either end. There were young trees, benches, paths and large fields of grass for playing baseball, steal the flag, and kick the can.
But it wasn’t just the kids who enjoyed this neighbourhood, our parents were connected too. The phrase “It takes a village to raise a child” was lived out here.
My nostalgia for this sense of community we once found in a neighbourhood is evident in my dubbing the comments section of this gathering place, “the LFI porch”. A few years ago I asked: “Where Have all the Porches Gone?” We used to have front porches where we could connect with our neighbours as they walked by; now we have high-walled decks on the backs of our homes. What have we done?
In 1964, Jan Gudmand-Hoyer, a visionary Danish architect, sought to address what he called, “The Missing Link between Utopia and the Dated One-Family House,” This began his search for better answers that resulted in the birth of cohousing.
Cohousing is a perfect place for a community to grow!
What intrigues me about cohousing is the same thing that attracts me to community: You have people around who know and care about you. You support one another and you enjoy camaraderie together. But this is it in a nutshell: You can be in the company of others as much as you like and you can be alone as much as you like but you never feel alone. In my ideal cohousing settlement, there are people of all ages, cats, and dogs, gardens, benches, and large green spaces for the children to play. To me, this is Utopia.
Have you ever considered cohousing as a living arrangement for yourself? This link (along with others in this post) will help.
Photo Credit: Placematters