According to the UK Cohousing Network:
“Cohousing communities are created and run by their residents. Each household has a self-contained, private home but residents come together to manage their community and share activities. Cohousing is a way of combating the alienation and isolation many experience today, recreating the neighbourly support of the past. This can happen anywhere, in your street or starting a new community using empty homes or building new.”
Each Cohousing Project is different as it meets the needs of each individual community but there are general defining features that are shared;
PARTICIPATORY PROCESS – Future residents participate in the design and development of the community so that it meets their needs
NEIGHBOURHOOD DESIGN – The physical layout and orientation of the buildings (the site plan) encourages a sense of community (design is one of the facilitators).
COMMON FACILITIES – Common facilities are designed for daily use. They are an integral part of the community, and are supplemental to the private residences
RESIDENT MANAGEMENT – Cohousing communities are managed by their residents. Residents also do most of the work required to maintain the property, participate in the preparation of common meals and meet regularly to develop policies and do problem-solving for the community
NON-HIERARCHICAL STRUCTURE AND DECISION-MAKING – In co-housing communities there are leadership roles, but no one person or persons who has authority over others. Most co-housing groups make decisions by consensus