Cohousing is a concept of intentional community living that originated in Denmark and has since spread to various parts of the world, including the United States. It offers a unique and enriching way of life that emphasizes social interaction, shared resources, and close-knit relationships with neighbors.

In the 1960s, a group of Danish families sought to create a community that fostered a sense of belonging and mutual support. They envisioned a place where individuals could have privacy within their own homes while also enjoying the benefits of shared spaces and social connections. This gave rise to the first cohousing community, Sættedammen, which was established in Denmark in the early 1970s.

Sættedammen site map from Cohousing in Denmark & the Pacific Northwest

Cohousing communities are typically designed to encourage social interaction and collaboration among residents. Architecturally, they differ from conventional neighborhoods in several ways. Instead of prioritizing individualistic design, cohousing places a strong emphasis on shared spaces and common facilities. These can include a communal kitchen, dining area, gardens, recreational spaces, and more. The physical layout often features pedestrian-friendly paths, courtyards, and common areas that promote spontaneous encounters and neighborly interactions. Residents have the opportunity to interact with their neighbors regularly, sharing meals, engaging in activities together, and building meaningful relationships.

Another advantage of cohousing is the shared resources and collective decision-making. Residents often collaborate on tasks such as gardening, maintenance, childcare, and other responsibilities, which leads to a more efficient use of resources and a shared sense of ownership.

The concept of cohousing has gained popularity in the United States over the past few decades. As people seek alternatives to conventional housing and a greater community, cohousing provides an appealing solution. Today, numerous cohousing communities exist across the country, each with its unique character and set of shared values. By embracing the principles of community, collaboration, and resource-sharing, cohousing continues to offer a compelling and fulfilling way of life for those seeking a deeper connection with their neighbors and a shared sense of purpose.

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