RE: Intentional Communities vs. Cohousing
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Tue, 12 Jul 94 09:55 CDT
Sandy Bodzin  asked:  Can anyone please explain the difference between 
an intentional  community and a cohousing community?

Here is my $.02 worth.   Cohousing is a form of intentional community 
closest related to a  housing cooperative, with certain special 
attributes.  One of the primary differences which sets cohousing apart 
from other intentional communities is that there is generally no 
central philosophy or vision which you must subscribe to.  Most 
cohousing you don't have to believe in any specific vision to live 
there.  There is usually a general vision which brings people together, 
based on cooperation.  This is not a requirement of cohousing, but has 
become an attribute of its American and Danish expression.

Another difference of cohousing is that it is pretty much developed for 
and by the middle and upper middle economic class.   Homes are 
individually owned, and there is some common ownership of land or 
buildings.  Another difference is that Cohousing is often (usually) 
bank financed, which implies a certain level of legal and financial 

On an operational and group organizational level cohousing seems to 
function much like many other intentional communities - Decisions are 
usually made for the benefit of the group, meetings are held to deal 
with management issues, open participation in all community affairs, 
sharing some resources - including meals, working cooperatively on 
common projects, co-ownership of resources are all attributes which 
cohousing shares with other forms of intentional communities.

For an in depth look at the forms of community see:  The Directory of 
Intentional Communities: A Guide to Cooperative Living . Fellowship for 
Intentional Community  1991.  It can be had from most libraries.

As to religious cohousing -  If religious values are their central 
vision, then I see no reason why it would be illegal.  I doubt they 
could get bank funding for their community if they had restrictive 
religious entrance covenants since that would severely limit their 
resale marketability.

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