Finding Cohousing – Richard’s Journey

My interest in intentional community was originally sparked in the early 1970s by a reading of Walden Two, a utopian novel written by B.F. Skinner. I was attracted by the opportunities for social interaction and sharing of resources, which the community model implied, and kept casual tabs on the movement for several decades.

When intentional communities began to cluster private homes around shared common space with a common house and other shared facilities, this form of community became cohousing (the term coined by architects Katie McCamant and Chuck Durrett, who brought cohousing concepts to the U.S. from Denmark in 1980). With this evolution, I became very intent on either joining or creating a cohousing community. Over a number of years, I visited 17 cohousing communities – urban, suburban, and rural – before discovering the forming Richmond Cohousing community in May of 2015. The group is now investigating buildable land for an urban cohousing community within 5 miles of the city center so that members can walk, bus, or bike to shopping, work, entertainment, etc. The intention is to create a multi-generational, ethnically-diverse group of families and we are well on the way to achieving that goal.

The group’s business meeting (called a “plenary”) is very objective-oriented and includes a shared agenda published several days before the meeting. The governance structure encourages inclusion and involvement of all who attend. I feel very optimistic about Richmond Cohousing’s trajectory toward successful community design and construction. I look forward to living in community with my Richmond Cohousing friends.

Richard’s travels have taken him to over 17 cohousing communities across the country – including Nyland Cohousing, PDX Commons, Harmony Village, Takoma Village, Arboretum Cohousing, and Stone Curves. We’re thrilled to hear about his adventures along the way! 

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2 thoughts on “Finding Cohousing – Richard’s Journey

  1. Thanks for sharing, Richard! What were some of the fun or interesting practices you saw in different communities (garden plans, community events, common meal traditions, etc)?

    1. Stone Curves (http://stonecurves.org/) in Tucson had a lovely garden built into a depression so it was like a vertical wall with peppers, tomatoes and Herbs, accessable with little bending or stooping.
      .
      Also in Tucson, the Dog Park at Sonora Cohousing (http://sonoracohousing.com/coho/) was planted with local trees and shrubs, which made it pleasing to look at. The ¼ acre, off-lead space, was much appreciated by the community dogs and their owners.
      .
      More later… xo r

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