CoHousing - Designing the Urban Village


Outside the United States, there are about 400 cohousing sites, with Denmark and Britain leading, followed by Canada and Australia. The first American cohousing project, Muir Commons, opened in Davis, CA in 1991. More than 100 cohousing units currently exist in the US and an additional 100 cohousing sites are in planning or are under construction. Sizes range from fewer than a dozen units to more than 50. Cohousing residents around the country speak of being drawn to the lifestyle because of what they perceive as the anonymity of the American suburbs — and a desire to minimize their impact on the environment.



Cohousing and Subcultures-


The cohousing prototype may be most useful to subcultures in American society, people who want to feel more connected to individuals who share their values and world view. I have several nephews who are devout Muslims living in suburban Maryland. Over the last few years, I have watched them go to great lengths to schedule time for their young families and friends to gather together in each others' houses. Several times a week, they come together to relax, pray, celebrate birthdays, work together, share meals, etc.. Though all these families live close to one another, they still live separately, and must scramble like most American families to find adequate day-care, the opportunity to provide home-schooling, and time to do household duties. Most importantly, they seek the comfort of being surrounded by a cohesive and supportive extended family. Cohousing may be a perfect housing option for these young families.