You know that thing when you need to borrow an egg? Or jump your car? Or get change for the bus? What we’re doing is building a special kind of neighborhood that fosters these kinds of connections so that neighbors feel right at home with each other.
Looking at living in cohousing, if you have not done so, takes some thought, because cohousing is a wonderful way to live, but it is not for everyone. My husband and I were fortunate to rent for months at a time in a built cohousing community and "try it on", but that's not always available. So how do you know if you would thrive in a cohousing community? I asked my retired husband what he thought the advantages of cohousing are and he gave me these reasons:
- Common meals and the conversations that happen around them.
- More choices of things to do because it is easier to see your neighbors around.
- Sharing of stuff, like washers and dryers, hoses and rakes, hot tubs, gardens and such.
- More people to talk to, if you want to, but you don't have to if you don't want to.
I asked him what the downsides were and this is what he said:
- Mingling conflicting ideas to get to agreement.
- Relative difficulty of getting along with all of our cohousing neighbors without causing harm.
At the last Oakleigh Meadow Cohousing Business Meeting we came up with questions to help you determine if you would be a match. If you answer most of these positively, then probably you are!
1. Would you like to walk out of your door, say hello to a neighbor and stop for a meaningful chat with them?
2. I want a connection to the land, my neighbors and community.
3. Are you comfortable lending and borrowing tools, cars, outdoor equipment etc. with your neighbors?
4. Would you enjoy growing food with friends and neighbors?
5. I enjoy sharing work & knowledge with others.
6. Do you like the idea of helping your senior neighbors grow old gracefully by lending a hand?
7. I recognize the value of group input to solve problems.
8. Would you like to come home at the end of the day to delicious home-cooked meals?
9. Would you enjoy watching children grow up?
10. I can afford a mortgage.
11. Would you like a third-place -not home or work - that is easy to go to for shared activities?
12. I believe in sustainable living practices.
13. Would you enjoy the excitement of watching your neighborhood grow from the ground up?
14. Would you enjoy joining with others to complete big group projects such as making a pizza oven or other things you have wanted to do but never have gotten around to?
15. I like a balance of privacy and friendship in my life.
16. Would you enjoy participating in community workdays a couple times a year to help common areas and facilities look their best?
17. Would you enjoy caring for your neighbors’ pets and appreciate them caring for yours?
18. I am willing to participate in group process and decision-making.
19. Do you want to be part of a community dedicated to reducing its environmental impact?
20. I enjoy friendship and care about other people.