Today sharing an apartment has become a norm, especially in big cities. Having a roommate just makes life a little bit easier and helps us focus on what is truly important instead of having to worry about things like steep rent or long commute to work. Together we are strong. It seems that we have finally grasped this concept and moved on with it. Cohousing may very well be that next step we take after sharing an apartment, a car or a vacation house.
Cohousing community or a “coho” is a group of people who have chosen to live together working cooperatively to create a lifestyle that reflects their shared core values. And, as the number of cohos around the world grows, the ideas that bring their members together become more diverse: there are eco-villages where the group’s purpose is to live in harmony with nature, senior communities of all types, intentional communities for people who share the same interests like passion for art or yoga. There are urban cohos where people come to live together and share common areas so that they could have a vegetable garden to grow their own food and rural communities. There are community houses for young families and single moms where members take turns babysitting each others children and make collective effort to provide better environment for their children’s growth and development.
Many members of different communities admitted, when interviewed, that cohousing for them is more than just pooling funds and sharing chores, as they gradually create bonds and form lifelong friendships with other members. Not surprising at all, we tend to get close to someone who shares the same views and ideas like us, now imagine not a person but a whole group of like-minded individuals living the life they always dreamed of? It certainly explains why communities grow and their members gradually start feeling less like a group and more like a family. It also explains the growing popularity of cohousing communities around the world and in The United States.
Cohousing concept was born in Denmark, where it received active support from the government and over the past 25 years has caught on worldwide. It is gaining momentum in the post-recession US economy with a growing number of architectural firms and Real Estate developers involved in creating cohousing communities. As of right now there are more than 160 established communities and 120 more are being formed in 25 states around the country. A promising tendency, as cohousing might be the solution we are looking for in times of global crisis.
It’s been reported that people living together in large groups, in general, leave a lesser environmental footprint. With hundreds and hundreds of eco-villages and sustainable living communities in the world there is a good chance that we can not only reduce our destructive impact on Earth, but help restore the environmental balance. Cohousing community members are more independent financially, healthier and happier than the they used to be when lived on their own. A 2011 Survey of Cohousing Communities, produced by The Cohousing Research Network confirms that cohousing is good for children, parents, singles, seniors, the neighborhoods around them, and the environment: 96 percent of cohousing residents surveyed reported an improved quality of life; 75 percent felt their physical health was better than others their age. Isn’t it exactly what we need to do to solve major problems humanity is facing right now?
It looks like the world IS changing to become a better place and we are changing too. A member of Konohana eco-village located at the foot of Mount Fuji, Japan said in an interview: “I felt that practicing a sustainable lifestyle was more important than gaining a steady income.” Well, we couldn’t agree more with it!