It’s been 50 years since cohousing first spread from Denmark to the U.S., and then to Canada. Today, there are some 150 cohousing developments in the U.S., and about 15 in Canada. But only now, is cohousing coming to Nova Scotia, with independent projects in Bridgewater, Port Williams, Halifax and Tatamagouche in the works. Could this kind of community housing be the wave of the future?
Unlike ordinary housing developments, cohousing is run by the homeowners with the idea of creating community, not profit. They usually consist of 20 to 40 homes, with common dining rooms and rec rooms. Some are all ages, with young couples and families with children and seniors, while others are seniors-only. Either way, the idea is to create an intentional community with big group dining rooms (though private homes include kitchens) and community activities, ways for people to mingle easily and support each other. It’s a way for parents to find adoptive aunts and uncles for children and for seniors to find community after their children are grown. Advocates predict a groundswell in new developments, as seniors seek out ways to live that give them both privacy and community. “Co-housing will be unstoppable,” said Gary Morrison, the founder of LiveWell Cohousing, a Vancouver-based organization that works with communities to help them launch their co-housing projects, in a story by the CBC. “’It’s about community first, and it’s about people who want to connect on a neighbourly basis.”
Dr. Bruce McLeod, a Port Williams doctor who recently bought 27 acres in his town for a cohousing development he has named Wine Down, told the CBC that this is a way to retire among friends who will look out for each other. Now he is trying to attract newcomers to buy into the community. “This will be designed that you interact with people,” he said. “You want to be in a place that you’ve designed and that you sort of run. So, hopefully, this will be a place where we can age until near the very end.”
Treehouse Village Eco-housing in Bridgewater — new community housing for all ages.