If I live in cohousing, will I have my own kitchen?

Yes. Every house household is equipped with all amenities, including a kitchen. The common house will also be equipped with a large kitchen to accommodate common meals from 2 to 5 times per week, depending on what the community decides.

What is a common house?

Although the homes are always self contained and privately owned, the residents have access to shared facilities. The overall intention of the design is to create opportunities for interaction among neighbours. The shared facilities and physical design have proven to support and sustain community connection over time. The Common House supplements the individual dwellings and is the heart of the community. It typically includes a kitchen and dining room, lounge, guest room, child care space, workshop, shared office space, and laundry area. The members will decide what’s to be included.
Source: Canadian Cohousing Network.

Who lives in cohousing?

Based on the experience of past groups, the following generalization gives an overview of who is typically attracted to cohousing.

They tend to be people who have thought about this idea of creating community long before they heard the term cohousing. They tend to be people seeking to improve their quality of life, people who are interested in the larger community around them and people who tend to think globally and act locally.

To the best of their ability they take responsibility for themselves, for the world they experience, and for the world their children will inherit.

People who choose to be a part of a cohousing community come from a variety of backgrounds, income levels, family types and beliefs. What they do have in common is a desire to have a say in how their neighbourhood will be and a belief that having more connection with their neighbours will be good for them.

You will see evidence of a more sensitive attitude towards the natural environment, reduced home size, sharing of resources and community recycling.

Source: Canadian Cohousing Network

Will I have privacy?

Yes! Members value privacy as well as social contact, and it is important to members to have their own homes and private space.

There is a common belief that the cohousing arrangement allows for less privacy than traditional development, however this does not in fact prove to be the case. A unique aspect of cohousing is that the future residents participate in a conscious process of creating a community which will reflect their values. Privacy is valued by most people in our culture, so the design always reflects the desire to provide a balance of privacy and community.

The following statement was taken from a CMHC study in 1997 called, “Planning Cohousing”, which addressed this particular concern:

“While the shared amenities are integral to cohousing, some believe privacy is more respected in cohousing communities than elsewhere. The idea of a shared kitchen and dining facilities does not stem from a notion that meals should be communal, but a recognition that sometimes communal meals are desirable and benefit everyone.”

There can actually be more privacy in cohousing because the amenity areas provide meeting places, play areas, party room, guest space, etc. while the individual dwelling is a place of privacy and retreat.

Source: Canadian Cohousing Network

How long does the process take?

The timeline will vary with every development and is somewhat dependant on municipal requirements. However the main variable is the length of time that it takes to bring together a group of committed individuals who are financially capable of developing the project.

A small group of households will typically start the process and continue to build membership as the development proceeds. Ideally, all the homes will be spoken for by the time the project has been completed.

Once a core group has formed, cohousing development does not take any longer than traditional development when professionals are used in the process.

Source: Canadian Cohousing Network

What is it going to cost?

To date, cohousing is rarely subsidized. Participants are generally those who can afford to buy their own home and the cost is approximately market rate. There are exceptions however, and new models for financing and developing cohousing are constantly being explored in the attempt to create more affordability.

Some communities have effectively created a number of “affordable” homes at a percentage below market rate for those who can qualify for this type of assistance.

As well, investment returns can be offered to those who fund the equity portion of the development and this can substantially reduce the final purchase price of their home. With the help of their professional team, members of the group establish size, quality and cost guidelines for the project. Essentially, members determine what they want to pay, and the project is designed to match those identified needs, including unit prices.

Source: Canadian Cohousing Network

What is cohousing?

The term cohousing describes the process by which a group of people work together to create and maintain their own neighbourhood. By participating in the planning and design of their housing development, residents form the bonds which are the basis of ongoing community. Cohousing emphasizes a supportive, intergenerational community, common facilities and participation by all members using a consensus process to make decisions.

Its setting can be urban, suburban or rural and can involve building houses or rehabilitating existing structures. The design can take a variety of forms, depending on the wishes of the group, however the homes are always self-contained, have access to shared facilities and the overall intention is to create opportunities for interaction among neighbours.

Source: Canadian Cohousing Network