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[caption id="attachment_4538" align="aligncenter" width="500"]cohousing Flickr: PLACEMATTERS[/caption] There are numerous types of housing options out there, but one that has only recently started getting attention in the US is that of cohousing. Cohousing is a kind of shared living situation wherein residents of the community share things like kitchens, amenities, and sometimes even vehicle rides. The idea has been embraced in other countries, but it’s only recently that the US is catching up to countries like Denmark. The standout example here is “EcoVillage”, located in Ithaca and designed for 240 residents who share not only various aspects of their housing, but also a belief in sustainable living. Since these communities are made up of small ‘neighborhoods’ that share kitchens and other rooms in the common house, they create unique situations and offer numerous benefits including:
  • Stronger sense of community
  • Opportunity to live with those with similar values and ideals
  • Reduced environmental impact
Additionally, those who live in these cohousing communities often report being healthier and happier with their lives. This is especially true since the communities are designed with older Americans like Boomers in mind. As we age, it’s easy to grow complacent and to lose a sense of purpose. But cohousing lets people stay proactive about their aging and focus on spending time with others and on being able to enjoy life to its fullest. The obvious drawback here is simple – such close proximity can mean that conflicts do arise. Some cohousing communities ban guns and have tight restrictions on pets since these seem to be the primary two causes of such conflicts, though some people simply aren’t suited to living in such close proximity and sharing so many aspects of their life with others. Already there are about 150 cohousing communities located throughout the country, and at the moment 14 more are in development or being planned exclusively for senior citizens to live in. While not for everyone, it’s well worth taking a closer look at what cohousing has to offer. It could be a great fit for those looking for a different kind of housing opportunity.

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Jim DeRentis
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