What is Cohousing?

Cohousing is the term coined by two American architects, Kathryn McCamant and Charles Durrett, to describe a housing arrangement developed in Denmark over the last 40 years, and now adopted increasingly throughout Europe and North America.

Developed and managed by the residents themselves, it combines the autonomy of private dwellings with the advantages of more social living. Although individual dwellings are designed to be self-contained – each having its own kitchen, bathroom and living areas – the extensive common facilities and in particular optional common house dinners are valued features of cohousing.

Cars are kept at the edge of the site to create a pedestrian friendly area designed for casual interaction and safe play for children.

In the US more than 120 cohousing projects have been completed and there are more than 100 projects in the planning stage. In the UK there are 14 cohousing communities, with a further 40+ in the planning stages. In Denmark today 1 percent of the population – about 50,000 people – live in cohousing.

The following TED Talk by architect Grace Kim tells of some of the benefits of Cohousing. Her talk is entitled, “How Cohousing can can make us happier (and liver longer)”!

In NZ we have one cohousing community, Earthsong, located in West Auckland. A link to their website can be found on our Links page.

Earthsong Cohousing - Auckland

Earthsong Cohousing – Auckland