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What is Cohousing


Research shows that people live longer and healthier lives when they are socially connected to others. Cohousing communities bring together the value of private homes and the advantages of shared public space. These intentional communities focus on connectivity that facilitates social interaction, sustainable design, and shared resources. The Cohousing Association of the United States produced this brief report to highlight the benefits of cohousing for all residents, provide background on the main traits of a cohousing community, and depict examples of cohousing communities in the U.S.

Key Points

The physical design of a cohousing community encourages both social connection and individual space. Private homes contain all the features of conventional homes; however, residents also have access to extensive common amenities such as open space, courtyards, and a common house.

Cohousing communities are established around three principles that make them unique from traditional neighborhoods. They emphasize growing the community, increasing sustainability, and aging successfully. Most cohousing communities are designed to foster intergenerational connectivity, offering opportunities to live among people in all stages of life.

Other report highlights include:

  • As of 2008, there are more than 113 established cohousing neighborhoods in the U.S.
  • Cohousing communities are often designed as single-family homes clustered around a common courtyard or pedestrian walkway.
  • The basic traits of cohousing communities include shared facilities and public space, a common house, self-governance and design input by the group of future residents that created the neighborhood.

How to Use

Neighborhood planners, local officials, and community leaders can use this report to gain an understanding of the characteristics of a cohousing community. Any community looking for an innovative approach to neighborhood planning and design should read this brief report learn background information on cohousing, as well as the social benefits cohousing offers to residents of all ages.

View Full Report: What is Cohousing? (PDF – 280 KB)

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