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What is Cohousing?

Cohousing is an intentional community of private homes clustered around shared space. Each attached or single family home or in our case, each condo, has traditional amenities, including a private kitchen. Shared spaces typically feature a common house, or in our case, abundant community spaces on each floor, which may include a large kitchen and dining area, laundry, recreational spaces, and guest rooms. Shared outdoor space may include parking, walkways, open space, and gardens. Neighbors also share resources like tools and lawnmowers.

Households have independent incomes and private lives, but neighbors collaboratively plan and manage community activities and shared spaces. The legal structure is typically an HOA, Condo Association, or Housing Cooperative. Community activities feature regularly-scheduled shared meals, meetings, and workdays. Neighbors gather for parties, games, movies, or other events. Cohousing makes it easy to form clubs, organize child and elder care, and carpool.

Four Common Characteristics of Cohousing

Painted banner for the number 1



  • Neighbors commit to being part of a community for everyone’s mutual benefit.

  • Cohousing cultivates a culture of sharing and caring.

  • Design features and neighborhood size (typically 20-40 homes) promote frequent interaction and close relationships.

Painted banner for the number 2

Balancing privacy and community


  • Cohousing neighborhoods are designed for privacy as well as community.

  • Residents balance privacy and community by choosing their own level of engagement.

Painted banner for the number 3



  • Decision making is participatory and often based on consensus.

  • Self-management empowers residents, builds community, and saves money.

Painted banner for the number 4

Shared values

  • Cohousing communities support residents in actualizing shared values.

  • Cohousing communities typically adopt green approaches to living.

Number banners created by Durham Coho resident Pamela George. They adorn our East stairwell.

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