Cohousing is a community designed very intentionally, to combine the autonomy of private dwellings with the advantages of sharing resources and community living.
The physical layout is designed to provide personal privacy as well as create opportunities for interaction with neighbours. Cohousing neighbourhoods tend to offer environmentally sensitive design with a pedestrian orientation and have documented lower vehicle use than conventional neighbourhoods. We are no different, and are working towards a ‘Built Green Gold’ Certification.
Cohousing uses the strata title ownership structure once the development stage is complete. Each self-contained home is based on private ownership centered around and focused on shared facilities. In our case at West Wind Harbour, this includes a beautiful 3,000 sq.ft., common house, with kitchen, dining area, lounge, guest/caregiver suites, workshop, and meeting spaces.
We are fortunate to also have our own dock.
In the new building there will be a roof deck, gym, commercial kitchen and dining room large enough to accommodate everyone. We anticipate enjoying shared meals which is a common feature in other cohousing communities. Participation in activities like this is completely optional. There are no ‘attendance requirements’ for any of the many opportunities that will evolve as we live together in community.
Members are the developers of their own project and directly involved in the planning and design so that it directly responds to their needs. We take part in every decision (which are generally made by consensus). Although it takes time, we have found that this method of decision making enables everyone to be heard, and everyone understand the reasons behind each resolution.
The concept of cohousing originated in Denmark about 50 years ago and is becoming popular in many countries. It was introduced to North America by two architects in 1988 and since that time approximately 160 cohousing communities have been completed (13 of which are in BC), with numerous others in various stages of development.
The “Senior Cohousing Handbook – Second Edition” by Charles Durrett has inspired projects with a focus on the needs of an aging population.
For more information about cohousing in Canada, please visit the Canadian Cohousing website.