can be inter-generational, welcoming anyone of any age and any family structure, or specifically to cater for people who are older or are communities of common interest.
These issues have made alternatives such as cohousing communities
, which began in Denmark in the 1960s, more attractive to people with disabilities.
"Like all communities or any big organization, we have some people who do a lot of the work, and we have some people who do some of the work, and there always are some folks who don't do any of the work," says Anne Olson of East Lake Commons in Decatur, Ga., one of the largest cohousing communities
in the country, with about 170 residents.
My survey of attitudes in fifty North American cohousing communities
shows that this newer form of cohousing (its second wave) is a form of intentional community and does display some utopian tendencies.
create unique opportunities for designing more sustainable lifestyles.
Beginning in Denmark and spreading to many other places we have seen the rise of cohousing communities
in which people own their own homes but share mutual amenities.
So not all cohousing communities
at this time identify as ecovillages and not all ecovillages are made up of cohousing neighborhoods, but there is a trend to merge the two movements and it is this trend that I find most promising.
In the March 2009 issue of EP, readers learned about a unique organization, Niche, Inc., which helps those with disabilities know the joy of neighborhood connection through cohousing communities
. In this article, readers are introduced to how cohousing communities
work and why they are such a vital resource in the ongoing challenge of offering those with disabilities the same human rights--like safe, cost effective, stable, and chosen home environments--that are afforded those without disabilities.
First created in Denmark in the late 1960s, cohousing communities
are developments where residents live in private homes, but have common areas where social activities like meals are shared with neighbors.
It will include a tour of several completed cohousing communities
, an overview of the basic steps involved in taking your project from vision to reality, and descriptions of several elder community options now available.
At least three senior cohousing communities
are in various stages of development in Davis, California; Abingdon, Virginia, and Boulder, Colorado, and more are on the drawing boards.
So Graham Meltzer's book, Sustainable Community: Learning From the Cohousing Model--which asserts that residents of cohousing communities
with small houses and shared common spaces are generally happier--is timely.