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An urban cohousing community in Grand Rapids, Michigan


Cohousing is a type of collaborative housing in which residents actively participate in the design and operation of their community. The concept originated in Denmark in the 1960s and quickly gained popularity in the U.S. The cohousing ideal of living community has spread quickly, and there are now hundreds of cohousing communities worldwide.

An Old-Fashioned Sense of Neighborhood

The physical design of cohousing communities encourages both social contact and individual space. Private, resident-owned homes contain all the features of conventional homes, but residents also have access to common facilities such as a common house, gardens, and playground areas.

The common house is the social center of a community, and is usually where optional group meals are served at least once or twice a week. Community members work together to maintain common property, building a sense of trust and support among neighbors.

Six defining characteristics of cohousing:

  1. Participatory process

  2. Neighborhood design

  3. Common facilities

  4. Resident management

  5. Consensus-based decision-making

  6. No shared community economy

To learn more, visit, an invaluable resource to those interested in cohousing communities.

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