What is Cohousing?
Cohousing communities are created and run by their residents. Each household has a self-contained, private home. The residents also come together to manage the community and they often share spaces and activities; homes built this way help to avoid the isolation many people experience today, recreating the neighbourly support of the past.
Cohousing groups contribute significantly to the design of their own community and take an active role in creating it. Design is often used to encourage social interaction, for example by keeping cars to the periphery and putting a common house in the centre of the site. Many communities eat together regularly, and so the common house usually provides shared dining as well as leisure space.
Because cohousing schemes provide a range of shared facilities the individual private dwellings are usually smaller. There is also usually communal outside space for gardens, recreation and food growing.
Residents manage their own community, looking after the maintenance and development of it, running the finances, tending the gardens and organising shared activities. The community is typically governed in a non-hierarchical way, often using consensus decision making.
There are several long-established cohousing groups in Gloucestershire, and many more are now emerging across the UK, having already become an accepted part of people’s living arrangements in Denmark and the USA.