Cohousing is a contemporary model for recreating neighborhoods with a sense of place, and the security and sense of belonging that accompanies it. It combines the autonomy of private dwellings with the advantages of community living.
What is Cohousing?
Some characteristics of cohousing include:
1. Intentionality: Cohousing is a form of intentional community. Residents choose to come together
to create a different way of life and they choose cohousing for the benefits that community offers,
not just for a place to live. Through working and playing together, a strong social fabric develops.
2. Participatory Process: The community establishes its identity early on and evolves through
member participation in a visioning process, project design and the many tasks, agreements and
decisions needed to create a place to live together. While there are leadership roles, the
community is non-hierarchical and works together to come to decisions.
3. Neighborhood Design and Extensive Common Facilities: Cohousing is physically designed to
create a sense of community and encourage social interaction. Environmentally sensitive plans
emphasize pedestrian access and open space. A large ‘Common House’ is designed for daily use
and provides a central location for planned and spontaneous activities, shared meals and many
amenities, as a supplement to private living areas.
4. Private Dwellings: Residents have their own self-sufficient homes with kitchen, living room,
dining room, bedroom(s) and bathroom(s). By taking advantage of the Common House amenities
(e.g., large dining rooms for shared meals, guest rooms, workshops, etc.) homes typically can be
smaller than average single-family homes.
5. Resident Management: Many cohousing communities are legally set up as a condominium and
have a Home Owners Association. Residents work cooperatively to manage the facilities and the
budget rather than hiring a property management company. Daybreak will be set up as a
Where do other communities exist?
There are existing communities in and around Portland as well as all around the country, and the world. Cohousing began in Denmark and came to the United States in the late 1980s. There are currently over 200 communities in the United States listed on Cohousing.org as either forming or already built.