Cohousing is a way of living which brings individuals and families together in groups to share common aims and activities while also enjoying their own self-contained accommodation and personal space.
Cohousing communities are a means of compensating for the alienating effects of modern life where neighbours don’t recognise each other and where day-to-day collaboration is minimal. They offer particular benefits for children in terms of secure play-space and shared activities with their peers. Older people can also find companionship and mutual support in such communities.
The main features of cohousing communities are:
- They are set up and run by their members for mutual benefit
- Members are consciously committed to living as a community
- Developments are designed to encourage social contact and a sense of neighbourhood among members.
- Common space facilitates shared activities like community meals and other amenities like laundries, heating systems, guest rooms, transport, etc may be shared
This definition is from the UK Cohousing Network website – http://cohousing.org.uk/
There is lots more information there, including examples of cohousing communities around the UK and elsewhere, links to short videos about cohousing, and much more.
Cohousing is much much more common in Northern Europe than in either the UK or the US. Have a look at http://www.cohousing.org/cm/article/europe