I am on a Board of Directors that is looking for a housing developer and was surprised when a large respected developer asked us if we had considered “Cohousing”. Cohousing is planned, owned and managed by its residents and varies from low-rise apartments to townhouses to clustered detached houses, but with access to extensive common facilities. Condo ownership is the most common model because it fits U.S. cities’ multi-family planning, and banks lend more readily on single-family homes and condominiums than housing cooperatives. A large historic mansion with extensive property in Minnesota was turned into cohousing apartments following this model. What differentiates it from conventional developments is the design process, fostering social relationships among its residents and emphasizing shared spaces, especially green space. Because Cohousing is designed by, or with considerable input from, its residents and their needs, rather than on what a developer thinks will help sell units, turnover is typically very low, with a waiting list for units. Residents are a like-minded community, many are seniors. They provide a way to avoid the isolation and depression that people can face when they live alone. Leave it to our industry to find innovative solutions to the retiring Baby Boomer Bubble.
April 9, 2014