Cohousing started in Denmark in the 1970s as an urban residential model. In the US and Canada, cohousing communities are urban, small-town, and occasionally rural. There are now more than 100 completed communities in the USA and Canada, and over 100 groups planned or under construction. The Cohousing Association of the United States (Coho/US) website has more information on cohousing and a list of completed and developing groups across the U.S. and elsewhere.
Cohousing is a group of privately-owned homes that offers residents an old-fashioned sense of neighborhood. In cohousing, residents know their neighbors and there is a strong sense of community that is often absent in contemporary cities and suburbs.
Cohousing communities generally consist of private, small, but fully-equipped homes, a community building (or common house) and recreation areas. Everything is designed and managed by the residents who have chosen to live in a close-knit neighborhood that seeks a healthy blend of privacy and community.
Community is promoted by the layout of the buildings (facing each other across a wide pedestrian walkway) and the overall site plan. There are substantial common amenities, most notably a common house that offers residents a variety of daily activities. The design goal is to provide residents with many possibilities for friendly everyday contacts along with the privacy of their own homes.
For Shadowlake Village as for many cohousing groups, a parallel goal is to help people live more simply and conserve the earth’s resources as much as possible through environmental awareness and earth-sensitive design and construction.