Not to be confused with co-opâ€™s cohousing uses the condominium ownership structure. To find out more about the difference between cohousing, co-opâ€™s and conventional condominiums read the table found here.
Cohousing is based on private ownership of complete, self-contained homes centered around and focused on shared facilities (common house), which typically includes a kitchen, dining area, lounge, guest/caregiver suites, workshop, meeting spaces and other features the members may choose. Although each home has its own complete kitchen, shared dinners are typically available a few days each week at the common house for those who wish to participate.
It is also an alternative development model where the future residents participate in the planning and development so that it directly responds to their needs. The physical layout is designed to provide personal privacy as well as create opportunities for interaction with neighbours.
Cohousing neighbourhoods tend to offer environmentally sensitive design with a pedestrian orientation and have documented lower vehicle use than conventional neighbourhoods.
The concept originated in Denmark about 50 years ago and is becoming popular in many countries. It was introduced to North America by two architects in 1988 and since that time 127 cohousing communities have been completed (six of which are in BC), with numerous others in various stages of development. The â€śSenior Cohousing Handbook â€“ Second Editionâ€ť by Charles Durrett has inspired projects with a focus on the needs of an aging population.
In the video Building Community with Cohousing, film makers Dany Gagnon and Regan Payne interview cohousing residents from WindSong Cohousing Community (completed 1996), Cranberry Commons Cohousing (completed 2001) and Roberts Creek Cohousing (completed 2005). This video is entertaining, informative, heart-warming and inspiring. It provides a general overview of the concept and can be used to help educate the general public, developers, planners, and people interested in joining a completed or forming cohousing community. The video was produced by the Canadian Cohousing Network, funded by the membership of cohousing communities in Canada.
For more information about cohousing, visit the Canadian Cohousing Network website.