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An Ancient Idea Whose Time has Come

Modern cohousing began in Denmark in the 1960s.

Modern cohousing began in Denmark in the 1960s.

2,812 words

Spanish translation here

In 1516, Sir Thomas More published his now-famous work, Utopia. One of his recommendations was that housing be constructed for groups of about 30 families in order to create small villages which share common facilities, dinners, and child care. 

This idea has recently been expanded considerably and put into practice in what has come to be called bofaellsskaber in continental Europe, and “cohousing” in the English-speaking world. Cohousing communities first appeared in Denmark in the late 1960s, and the idea spread to a number of other European countries, as well as the United States and Canada. Today in Europe, there are many hundreds of cohousing communities, and hundreds more in North America.

Cohousing came into existence because people had become dissatisfied with the isolation of the typical suburban house or urban apartment, but they wanted to avoid the opposite extreme of communal living. They wanted privacy, but not alienation and loneliness. They wanted to be part of a community, but to retain their independence and their right not to participate. They wanted a safe, healthy, stimulating environment in which to raise children. One couple explained what motivated them to search for an alternative form of housing:

Several years ago, as a young married couple, we began to think about where we were going to raise our children. What kind of setting would allow us to best combine our professional careers with child rearing? Already our lives were hectic. Often we would come home from work exhausted and hungry, only to find the refrigerator empty. Between our jobs and housekeeping, where would we find the time to spend with our kids? Relatives lived in distant cities, and even our friends lived across town. Just to get together for coffee we had to make arrangements two weeks in advance. Most young parents we knew seemed to spend most of their time shuttling their children to and from day care and playmates’ homes, leaving little opportunity for anything else. (MacCamant, Katherine, and Durrett, Charles (1988) Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves, Ten Speed Press, California, p. 9.)

What is Cohousing?

The Danish word for cohousing, bofaellsskaber, translates “living communities.” When Katherine McCamant and Charles Durrett wrote Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves in 1988, they coined the English term “cohousing,” short for “collaborative housing.” In a nutshell, cohousing is that which is organized in such a way as to create a natural community, much like the villages in which our ancestors lived for thousands of years.

There are many variations on the cohousing theme. One cohousing venture was constructed inside an abandoned iron foundry, another was created in a high-rise apartment building. In one Toronto neighborhood, six families tore down their backyard fences and began sharing gardening equipment, buying in bulk, and eating dinner together several nights each week. Some cohousing communities have as few as 4 families, some as many as 80 (although the latter is subdivided into smaller groups). However, there are several essential elements which most cohousing communities have in common:

  • self-sufficient, single-family residences
  • a common house for group activities
  • participation by residents in decision-making on matters affecting the group

Although some cohousing groups modify existing structures, most embark on the more ambitious journey of building their communities from scratch. An individual or couple usually begins the process by placing an advertisement in the local newspaper or on the internet announcing their intention, asking like-minded people to contact them. After a series of meetings and considerable attrition, the group enters into in a loose-knit partnership and begins looking for a site upon which to build. Next they consult with a developer and an architect, with whom they work especially closely so they can build homes to fit each family’s needs. From start to moving in, it takes a minimum of 2 years, sometimes as many as 4 or 5.


Most cohousing is situated on the outskirts of a metropolitan area where many of the residents work. One typical arrangement is clusters of 2-story townhouses constructed in an oval shape surrounding a courtyard, along with one large, collectively-owned building at the end — the common house — used for dining and other group activities. The complex provides homes for 25 families of various compositions — couples with children, single parents with children, elderly couples, and singles. Houses may vary from one to four bedrooms. Each house is designed to be self-sufficient, and each kitchen is fully furnished. The front door opens into the courtyard with a semi-private yard for each household, and the back door opens to the outside to a private yard, and then the parking lot. This arrangement creates a village atmosphere where, in the course of ordinary, every-day activities, residents naturally interact and get to know one another.


The Common House

The common house is the hub of social activity, where people can chat with neighbors, play indoor sports, and, most importantly, eat dinner. The evening meal is the main collective endeavor. Most cohousing communities serve dinner in the common house every night to the majority of residents. There are very substantial practical advantages of communal dinners over individually-prepared dinners, both in terms of time and money. Buying food in bulk is much cheaper, and one big effort spent preparing a communal dinner once a month for everyone is far less trouble than each family shopping, cooking, serving, and cleaning up independently each night. Two adults and two children may work together for several hours once a month to prepare a meal for everyone, and clean up afterwards. This entitles them to inexpensive, work-free dinners for the entire rest of the month. “I don’t have to cook all those other nights,” one woman resident exclaimed cheerfully. “I can just waltz in there at 6 p.m. to a homemade dinner!”

Almost all cohousing communities chose to include the following basic features in their common house, in order of priority:

  • a common kitchen which is convenient for use by several cooks at the same time with the capacity for preparing meals regularly for most of the community, and occasionally for all the community, plus guests
  • a dining area and gathering space, capable of seating most residents regularly and all residents, plus guests, occasionally
  • a children’s play area visually connected, but acoustically isolated, from the dining area
  • mail pick-up location, with bulletin boards

Many cohousing communities also include storage areas, a laundry room, an adult lounge area, guest rooms for visiting friends and family members, office spaces, and other special-use spaces in the common house. Cohousing communities in Scandinavia often have glass-covered pedestrian streets or courtyards, which can be a blessing during their frigid winters.

Practical Matters

Financially, owning a house in a co-housing community is like owning a condominium, where each household owns its own home, plus a share of the common facilities. In Europe, existing cohousing complexes are highly prized because buyers receive the benefits without all the developmental work involved in finding a site and building on it. Attempts are made to standardize as much as possible during the building phase — not customize — to keep costs

down. Turnover in cohousing complexes is less than in conventional housing, and appreciation is considerable greater, as they’re considered desirable places to live.


In conventional housing, parents especially tend to feel isolated and stressed. If a couple decides to go out to a movie, for example, or if a wife wants to go shopping, what was formerly a simple act suddenly becomes a major undertaking when small children are involved, requiring finding a babysitter, picking her up, paying her, and driving her home again. Usually this must be planned well ahead of time in order to work smoothly, so there’s little opportunity for spontaneity. In contrast, the social network which naturally develops in cohousing enables parents to take time away from their children on the spur of the moment. As one resident explained, “When you have children, you lose some of your freedom. To move into cohousing is to regain it.”

Potential babysitters are always around. Children easily find playmates. The courtyard makes a safe haven for toddlers where mothers can keep an eye on them. Crime is virtually non-existent because everyone knows his neighbors, and a stranger will be spotted immediately. Cars are parked safely outside, on the periphery of the complex. Another resident explained it thus:

If I had to chose one word to describe what cohousing meant to me, it would be security — in the emotional sense that I know there are people that I can depend on, people I can call for help. When I couldn’t make it home the other night, I called a neighbor to ask him to feed the chickens. When I got home, I found that he had not only fed the chickens but also the rabbits, figuring I had forgotten about them. We never worry about finding a baby sitter because we know we can depend on one of the neighbors — and the kids are very comfortable staying with them. The older kids can just stay home because they have neighbors to call if they have any problems. (Ibid., p. 87)

Children seem to thrive in this environment. Field trips become possible when a critical mass is reached such that if one or two participants drop out at the last minute, the outing doesn’t fall through. As one cohousing resident put it:

[T]here are favorable conditions for children here — socially, physically, and educationally. They are exposed to many more interests and stimulations than usual . . . They also have a strong sense of identity. They are not anonymous here; and like the children of any village, they know that there is a place they are recognized and have a sense of belonging. This enhances their self-confidence. Children who live in cohousing are usually “can do” people because they learn from participating in so many kinds of activities, and receive recognition for their accomplishments. (Ibid., p. 87)

Many families nowadays home-school their children, which can be a big burden on the mother, but it’s made much easier by tackling the job collectively, as is day care for the younger children.

Shared Facilities: More Stuff, Lower Cost

While few people would consider relinquishing private ownership of their houses, cars, or personal possessions, there will always be a myriad of impersonal items which people need occasionally which quite reasonably might be purchased collectively. Examples: guest rooms for visiting friends or family, soccer field, workshop, swimming pool, tree house, tennis court, exercise machines, and garden. In conventional housing, the family must either foot the bill for the entire thing, or go without. Cohousing makes it possible to own these sometimes-needed items collectively, at a fraction of the cost. A few cohousing communities even maintain a small store stocked with household items, cereal, toiletries, etc. The store is unattended, but all residents have a key so they can shop any time. They simply record the items they’ve bought, for which they’re billed later. Residents appreciate the convenience of an on-site store, and benefit from the savings of buying in bulk.

Who are These People?

Virtually everyone in cohousing is on at least one committee, and most people attend at least some meetings. The alternative to attending meetings is to have no impact on how things are run, and to leave decisions to others who may — or may not — see things the same way. The point is that in this environment, unlike a typical suburban house or urban apartment, total lack of participation can have costs.

New people assimilate quickly in cohousing, and become part of the community, which is an advantage in technologically advanced countries where more and more people work all day at the computer, never meeting anyone in the course of their workday, and where others move frequently to better jobs.

People who chose cohousing are an interesting, self-selected bunch. They tend to be well-educated, with a broad range of interests, often active in local affairs such as politics or the school board. They also tend to be predominantly professionals, who often work at home, with higher than average incomes, of European descent, ranging from early thirties to retirement age, and politically somewhat Left of center. Efforts to increase ethnic diversity have not been successful. The authors of The Cohousing Handbook describe them as “experienced and successful controllers,” accustomed to controlling the world around them, at least more so than the average person. When asked what most attracted them to cohousing, they reply that it offers safety and security; an ideal place for raising children; flexibility and choice in such things as meals and socializing; savings in terms of both money and time; and greater control of their lives. (Scott-Hansen, Kelly, and Scott-Hansen, Chris (2004) The Cohousing Handbook, New Society Publishers, p. 120)

Cohousing is not for everyone. It probably wouldn’t be a congenial environment for extreme introverts or people who dislike children. Personality clashes are inevitable in any group endeavor, and in small communities, they will have more impact than in larger ones, where it’s easier for two people to simply avoid one another. In small communities, if the disagreement is serious, one party may decide to move out.

Back to the Future

Medium-sized cohousing complexes (15-35 units) seem to work best. It’s interesting that Sir Thomas More chose the figure of 30 families per village in Utopia, because it’s not far from the median number of 25 which recent experience seems to have chosen as ideal (Ibid., p. 15). Evolutionary psychologists frequently talk about “the environment of evolutionary adaption” (EEA). The EEA is said to influence our innate psychological predispositions today by the process of natural selection. Since human beings are social animals and evolved in small groups, it stands to reason that they are best suited psychologically for living in a similar environment to the one in which they evolved. The pioneers of cohousing tried to imagine the optimum arrangement of houses to create a community. There are limits to how many people we can get to know, or how many names we can remember. Originally intuition and reason were the only guidelines to such things as optimum size, but now there’s the experience of others to draw from. 

Cohousing and Eugenics

Eugenicists are interested in cohousing because it makes parenthood easier and more enjoyable. Women who have children as a result of a conscious choice are, on average, much brighter and more responsible than women who have their children as a result of a series of “accidents,” so eugenicists favor anything that makes motherhood easier. Moreover, high-IQ women often have fewer children than they would ideally like to have because of conflicts with career. Living in a cohousing community makes juggling career and motherhood easier and less stressful, so it could reasonably be expected to increase the fertility of this group.

Many wives either want to work, or need to work. Few young couples can afford full-time nannies, but most want to have children. However, they don’t want to become slaves to their children – they want to retain a good deal of their freedom. But is this even possible? In the Western world today, few couples have an on-call, ’round-the-clock baby-sitter living nearby, so it may not be possible. Cohousing provides couples the opportunity to have small, medium, or even large families while still retaining a good portion of their freedom.

21st-Century Cohousing

In the future, cohousing ventures may increasingly be organized around one unifying principle – for example, all elderly residents, vegetarians, environmentalists, artists, musicians, writers, scientists, and those with specific religious or political philosophies. People who are committed to a religious or a political belief can be empowered by joining forces with others who have the same convictions. The value of such gatherings is already well-known, viz. universities, conferences, and churches. Inspiration doesn’t occur in a vacuum, and having the opportunity to meet informally with colleagues on a regular, day-to-day basis could be ideal. When people get together who share the same beliefs and interests, it sparks imagination and fosters collaboration, and the kind of deep communication that makes life worthwhile. A unique and priceless “ferment” takes place that frequently results in original creative work.


Beyond sharing common facilities, dinners, and child care, cohousing has little else in common with Sir Thomas More’s Utopia, and residents don’t claim that life resembles a “utopia” in the more general sense of the word. Not surprisingly, however, cohousing communities bear a strong resemblance to traditional villages of the past. Cohousing offers major time, money, and convenience advantages over conventional 21st-century housing, particularly for parents and children, which probably account for its rather marked growth worldwide, despite the very considerable trouble and expense of starting such endeavors from scratch and seeing them through to completion. In addition to practical advantages, cohousing seems to have struck an emotional cord because it provides a more natural balance between autonomy and community.



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  1. Arthur
    Posted November 22, 2015 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Co-Housing does not neccessarily mean living in the same building. You could have a plot of land in a rural area of say two acres and you could build three bungalows with a shared garage/storage building.

    It’s all about cost as well as finding the right people. Even in remote areas in the UK the price of land, let a lone houses is very high compared to America or elsewhere on the continent.

  2. J
    Posted November 5, 2015 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    An interesting talk on Co-Housing given at the Yorkshire Forum in England, here.

    Edith Crowther – Co-Housing, Design for Life – Clans and Kinship in the British Isles

  3. rhondda
    Posted August 9, 2015 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    As much as I am a sucker for utopias, it does mean according to Thomas More ‘no place’. In order to create it everyone has to agree on certain principles and that means sameness. How boring. (thanks Tito Perdue for the reminder) I am reminded of M Night Shyamalan’s movie The Village. At first I saw it as a quirky horror film, but then I realized the lies told to the kids were the motives for finding the truth. One still has to deal with the outside world.

    • Jaego
      Posted August 11, 2015 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      The Core Principles of the North American New Right or the Northwest Republic are not boring. Indeed we might sing as David did in the Psalms, Lord teach me your statutes.

      The Village was a great movie. Hard core Liberal Social Worker types got tired of being preyed upon so they went Galt. If only the movie had mentioned the race of their tormentors. One can dream…

  4. HerewardMW
    Posted August 9, 2015 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s interesting that this article and the one about Asatru are published next to one another.

    Being part of a religious community gets around the freedom of association issues and a non-universalist religion lets you select your members without too much concern about diversity. Make a big deal of it being a “nature” religion and ecologically sound and you could even get some good publicity for an all white housing project.

    There would still be issues in the UK – i.e. I can easily see a Muslim suing (and winning) for not being allowed to buy into a pagan community – but it’s a damned interesting idea to combine the two.

    • Stronza
      Posted August 9, 2015 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      There’s the Hutterian brethren (Hutterites) who claim they live in a communal lifestyle (“colonies”) but actually it would appear they follow aspects of communal, semi-private and co-housing ways.

      It’s their common religion PLUS ethnic sameness (they all originated in a certain area of Germany and all speak the same Astro-Bavarian dialect, a dialect they picked up from the Carinthian province in Austria) that would probably explain their ability to get along, though a few have been known to flee their colony for the bright lights. They are not quite like the Amish, not as strict. They do dress in a modest, 18th century style but, to support themselves, indulge in modern, large scale agriculture and animal-rearing (or should I say animal torture, i.e., CAFOs – Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations).

      Non-Hutterites are discouraged from joining the Hutterite colonies and you will find out why in the FAQ section of this site:

      So, if they don’t see fit to welcome non-Hutterites on the grounds that they wouldn’t be able to cope, why would pagan white people have to welcome anyone who doesn’t fit in.

  5. Glen
    Posted August 9, 2015 at 2:04 am | Permalink

    From the Pew Research Center:

    The Return of the Multi-Generational Family Household

    Back in 1900, fully 57% of adults ages 65 and older lived in multi-generational housing. In 1940, about a quarter of the population did so. Presently, 13% of whites do so. Among whites living in a multi-generational family household, 64% are in a two adult-generation household, 28% are in a three-generation household and 7% are in a skipped- generation household.

    Will whites grow wealthier in time? Are the 50s, 60s, 70, 80s, and 90s coming back? Nope. Employment in service and food industries, chronic un/underemployment – these are what most whites have to look forward to across the country. They are not getting richer in Hardy, Arkansas. In time, watch for the multi-generational housing and cohousing trends to increase among whites. We’d be stupid not to.

    • Glen
      Posted August 9, 2015 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      The most essential organizing principle behind co-housing is family and real, personal, long-term, friends. That is friends, not acquaintances; friends, not random club members; friends, not Zuckerbook/Twatter/Counter-Currents/Email entities. Friends have been vetted personally over a long period of time. We’ll have only one or two, maybe three genuine friends in our entire life. That’s all. Got none? Then there’s not much else to say.

      Empires, nations, tribes, communities, marriages, families, friendships, and individuals fail, fall, and die. Since the historical list is long, should we consider these things to be wasted effort? No. There is no map or procedure guaranteeing success, much less permanency. There is only better and worse. Naysayers will say “Nay” and be quick to add “I told ya” when disintegration – always inevitable – occurs.

      The idea that shared living began with the “hippie communes” of the ’60s and died with the arrival of “yuppies” in the ’80s is a myth easily disposed of with a little “Google” effort.

      Based on Census data the Pew Research Center says that in 1900 most American households were multi-generational. By 1940 the percentage had fallen to about 25%. The advent of the isolated nuclear family is a fairly recent phenomenon related to the formation of the geographically huge English-speaking states of North America, the rise of industrialization, the availability of high-speed transportation, and low-cost consumer goods. The rising costs of education, real estate, health and childcare coupled to diminished income and employment opportunities will see more families and friends joining forces across generations.

  6. WN
    Posted August 8, 2015 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    I do not see this working in the US until things get so bad that such living formations arise based on the desire for protection from violence. The historical failure of such planned communities when alternatives are available (i.e., the maximization of privacy and autonomy sought in suburbia, exurbia, or the country as soon as a family can afford it) would lead me to believe that this will likely remain a fantasy with the exception of a few extraordinarily committed outliers. I like the idea in theory and see potential value in it, of course, but Americans are far too individualistic for this to work very well unless, as mentioned above, under physical threat. Any American who has ever lived with more than one or two roommates can envision the problems that would develop and anyone who has ever had a property line dispute with a neighbor knows how tense such situations can be. I realize these are not perfectly analogous but they do point to some basic truth inherent in the American way of life. The less sovereignty over our homes, the less happy we are. We have never lived like this. It is completely foreign to our cultural DNA. We seem to need space and as much of it as can be afforded. The list of failed communes and deliberate communities throughout American history is lengthy. Of course, as a Californian my perceptions may be skewed by the almost complete lack of social trust out here (even at the neighborhood street level) but I see no evidence that this could be a sustainable project in the US, barring a radical shift in our social environment.

  7. Lorenz Kraus
    Posted August 8, 2015 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Housing-in-the-round is a better design. This cuts construction costs, and leaves room for kids to play outdoors without traffic threats.

    The Chinese had something like it.

  8. Stronza
    Posted August 8, 2015 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Reading up on this, I’ve concluded that cohousing isn’t for those of modest means. It seems that cohousing is an excellent setup for the comfortable class, but even then only in theory – because it assumes that our economy and kick-the-can-down-the-road situation are just going to continue merrily, as if total collapse could not possibly occur in this up-till-recently blessed land.

    Two or more persons who don’t have a high paying profession, but who have a bit of cash, could jointly purchase older rental properties and rent to people of like values and outlook. Then keep buying properties nearby. Look at what the hasids have done. It’s a multi-year project. If it’s a poor area, properties will be going up for sale all the time, the inhabitants having been relocated to the suburbs. We have to think long-term, not just about our own little immediate comforts and whims.

    Alternatively, and this may not be legal everywhere, 2 families could just double up in a single family dwelling and learn to cope. The immigrants of the past got away with it. If you have common heritage and world view, maybe it would work out.

    Also, the ages-old setup of 3 generations of the same family living together.

    Two families, if the opportunity arose, could buy 2 modest houses side by side, remove the fence, and have a larger space for a joint food growing garden and children’s play area, plus the benefits of cohousing to some degree.

    In any case, it all comes down to our ability to get along with others. We have not had much practice doing this over the past few generations, with the isolated nuclear family being encouraged as the norm, and young people being kicked out of the house to live alone the moment they’re done with high school.

  9. Posted August 8, 2015 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    As a native Dane I have heard of the concept before, but never giving it much thought due to my young age. I really enjoyed reading about the concept, and it would be the ideal kind of place to raise a family with fellow nationalists.

  10. Posted August 7, 2015 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful article! Excellent points and details about the whole process and development of cohousing. There are many resources people can go to who want to learn more about it and talk to people who live in such communities or are looking to form them! – the US national org. is one excellent resource to start with. If you are interested in starting – or moving into – such communities, there are more resources to do that today- professionally and otherwise through networking – than ever.

  11. Posted August 7, 2015 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Our home in the wonderful cohousing community of Blueberry Hill in Vienna, VA is for sale:

  12. Posted August 7, 2015 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Trouble is, don’t you see, that in any group of more than two or three, most of the people will prove not only unintelligent, but extraordinarily boring!
    I once went on a guided tour. And then twenty years later, tried it again!

  13. Ron
    Posted August 7, 2015 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    I would like in an abandoned military installation built deep inside a dormant volcano on a private island with machine guns easily accessible in every room if I could. More power to you if you can make this work. I totally support it. But for me, Hell is other people.

  14. Joseph Bishop
    Posted August 7, 2015 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Co-housing will never work in the United States other than as some sort of fringe regurgitation of the hippie commune.

    I will tell you what IS coming though: ‘Housing Equality’. This is where a goverment official will come to your house and see a single family – meaning this days, just about anything. They will say: ‘hey! we have another 50 million lMexicans crossing what used to be a border right now. Your house has room for at least 6 latino families (three bedrooms up and another three knocked togther in the baement). Who will pay for their transportation, settlement, etc.? You of course, since you have bucks and the newbies don’t – income redistribution being another form of equality. While this is going on, national parks and recreation areas will be steadily sht down to provide more land for the newcomers, and a thousand other measures will be adopted by a perrmanently nonwhite Congress, and ditto re state houses, presidency, etc.

  15. Edith Crowther
    Posted August 7, 2015 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    I am pleased to see this article. This Co-housing is surely the way forward for Nationalists. It did not work before because the time was not right, because there were not masses of people who cannot afford to buy or even rent. Necessity is the mother of Invention, and also the midwife of putting the Invention into practice!

    The media in the UK were very shocked recently at the news that a lot of expensive property in the UK is bought by foreigners who are laundering ill-gotten gains via property purchases, and estate agents were asked to be more alert to this. So the atmosphere is right for groups of natives to say, Hey, we will buy a large house with land as a group but we will not be a hippie commune, we will be mainstream with normal rules and regulations and an understanding that “an Englishman’s home is his castle” and whilst he is happy to share some things with others, there must be areas where he can barricade himself (and any close family) in and have a bit of peace and quiet.

    Although Co-housing is ideal for parents with children of various ages, it is also ideal for single people – or for a natural mixture of the two as used to exist in a typical medieval village such as Kibworth (the subject of a fascinating TV series by historian Michael Wood, who got the modern-day villagers to act the roles of the medieval villagers using their words which he had dug out from records).

    Although it is necessary to steer away from hippie or anarchist communes, the article above makes Co-housing sound a little TOO mainstream, in my opinion. For instance, a Nationalist Community would rather frown on working mothers, I would hope. And men of working age should not be so caught up in wage slavery that they cannot enjoy working around the “homestead” fixing things or retreating to a garden shed to be “men in sheds” but with a bit of solidarity from other men in the community who would also have their own sheds or garages.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted August 7, 2015 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Nicely put

      • Edith Crowther
        Posted August 8, 2015 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Greg – hope you are well and enjoying living in these “interesting times” !

  16. G.M.
    Posted August 7, 2015 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    As always, our lack of freedom to associate (& dissociate) is a central complicating factor which threatens & undermines these projects.

    Cohousing could indeed provide a safe & nurturing alternative for childhood growth & developement to the listless, wasteful & violent incarceration/indoctrination in our declining “educational” institutions.

    As noted, it’s very good for mothers to have other women around, & this approach avoids the isolation faced by many stay-at-home moms, not to mention several higher costs associated with this way of life. I also feel that a traditional small-scale model in which the sexes tend to segregate around “men’s work” & “women’s work” has many effects beneficial to social harmony.

    There are certainly economies of scale to be had in many areas of group living, but beyond individuals’ wishes to avoid entanglements with neighbours, the building code, local authorities & monopolistic services providers present another minefield.

    The size of community advocated by Sir Thomas More seems to match up very well with Dunbar’s Number, which is interesting.

    Depending on the level of association, the skills & knowledge of community members could themselves become shared assets, which could be useful not just in everyday life but also in generating economic opportunities or, in the case of an intentional community centrally interested in eugenics, could be a great help in advancing an effective group strategy in this complex & exciting space.

    If cohousing could work in an urban setting, what about a more rural one? This suggests lower property taxes, less & fewer services, & one hopes more independence, i.e. an opportunity to develop the community in the desired fashion. Perhaps a location just outside of city or town limits could minimise costs while retaining easy access to city products & services.

    I have in my mind an entire rural block split into eight or so (extended-)family farms, with space in the middle of the block being shared, perhaps to include a Great Hall (school/church/dining/meeting/social), Office (housing any onsite business in which group members are together involved & including the communications hub from which broadband internet is provided to the community), a Garage/Shop, storage shed(s), bunkhouse(s) for guests as well as community members, particularly those who are single or whose work requires frequent travel, specialised food processing or crafts huts, if warranted. One could even imagine a group plan for renewable energy & water sources which adds cost & complexity but could pay off down the road. The Office could contain specialised knowledge-economy businesses – hey, perhaps even involving genetics, leveraging the group’s interest in this area – as well as perhaps a lower-skilled, global free market facing business like a call centre which could provide a floor at which community members could easily & flexibly convert their time into income.

    Circumlocuting the rural block (which in Ontario, Canada typically contains 10 100-acre farms & is 5 or ~5 1/2 miles around) one sees fields protected by treelines as well as the structures of the family farms, but the community’s central area as described above is quite secluded & probably not visible from the road. But inside this hidden “Shambhala”, the folk are protected, connected to the world, & developing.

    Anyway, just wanted to throw a few ideas out there. Thanks Marian, I enjoyed the article, as you can probably tell!



  17. K.K.
    Posted August 7, 2015 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    An absolute nightmare for private individuals like me, regardless of how much in common I’d have with the potential cohabitors. No thanks!

    • Capercaillie
      Posted August 7, 2015 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      This is not suitable for everyone. Some of us would rather live in the woods, sorrounded by birds and foxes.

      Anyway, I like this “cohousing” thing for family-oriented people. An excellent setup of healthy communities. I can see many pros, e.g., it’s a no-go zone for psychopaths and sociopaths.

      • K.K.
        Posted August 7, 2015 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        Despite my personal preference – which is a city rather than in the woods btw – I recognize that this is indeed an excellent model for healthy, confident communities; as long as the cohousing is centered around some ideological consensus, and isn’t determined by the socio-economic status of its members, as the latter would merely lead to a development of ghettos.

  18. Occidental Composer
    Posted August 7, 2015 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    A good idea, but what happens when the ‘unifying principle’ is “an all white community?”

    With terrorist organizations such as Obongo’s HUD, this won’t fly.

    • Stronza
      Posted August 7, 2015 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      The founders of such a cohousing project would have to be sly, and invite suitable people until they’re full up, rather than advertising for buyers. I should think that it would be more difficult for the govt to change the racial composition of this type of setup rather than what they are trying to (apparently) do in the suburbs now.

      Dr. Martin Luther King, I too “have a dream”. It is to win the Powerball (okay, less would do), buy a slew of houses in fancy, liberal-infested parts of any big city, and invite “refugees” (preferably those with family waiting overseas to come over here) to rent these houses for about $150 per month. Heh, heh. Just helping the government with its integration! A community-minded citizen! A lover of All Peoples!

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