My Dream Home, at Least in Theory: Cohousing!

I had never heard about cohousing until the loneliest summer of my life, when I lived in Berkeley California and knew no one.  The world is funny, and somehow I met a person, who was a friend of a friend–and this person lived in cohousing.

I got to see what cohousing was, and frankly it wasn’t that different from a normal house. The primary difference was that people who lived in the cohousing community shared some resources: a washer and dryer, a common space with a piano, and a guest apartment. Other differences, were social; cohousing inhabitants had regular community dinners, social events, as well as  shared responsibilities like landscaping and building maintenance.

After seeing cohousing I was intrigued. The idea of  sharing resources and therefore saving resources, as well as living intentionally with a group of people, resonated with me. The balance that cohousing offers between private space and community space combined with the social/community life was appealing.

It was not until recently, four years after my lonely summer in Berkeley,  that cohousing even crossed my mind.  An acquaintance of mine lives at Cobb Hill Cohousing in Hartland, VT. Needless to say, I am ready to move there. The Cohousing is fascinating from a variety of perspectives:

First, diversified agriculture. The Cobb Hill maintains a herd of jersey cows (had the award-winning Cobb-hill farm cheese lately?); Icelandic sheep; honey; maple syrup; and more! Food is consumed within the community and also sold locally.

Second, the housing is super energy efficient! Check out these cool and SMART building methods.

Third, this way of living makes sense from many perspectives, but perhaps the most important is that we  have limited resources on earth and we need to use them wisely. Sharing makes sense. Also, in light of the housing crisis, this style of living offers an alternative to risking lending and the insecurity that can come with single-home ownership.

I am curious, what your thoughts are on this model of living? What are some of the legal challenges?

Where to start…
Multi-Owned Housing: Law, Power and Practice

All that we Share: A Field Guide to the Commons

Property and Values: Alternatives to Public and Private Ownership

Property and Community

Interested in learning more? Cobb Hill welcomes visitors…

And, if there was ever a time when we needed to be evaluate the status quo–now is it. A successful cohousing community is right down the road–leading by example, and showing us that traditional home ownership is not the only way to have a dream home.



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