Re: Possible definitions of different types of choosing
From: David Heimann (
Date: Sat, 21 Dec 2013 09:47:05 -0800 (PST)

Hi Kevin,

Interesting list. Since it's a bit long, I look at it as a cross between {Rural, Urban, Neighborhood} and {Built, Retrofit}, with a couple of other forms (Ecovillage, Senior) thrown in.

David Heimann
Jamaica Plain Cohousing

Date: Thu, 19 Dec 2013 11:59:49 -0800
From: Kevin Wolf <kevinjwolf [at]>
Subject: [C-L]_ Possible definitions of different types of choosing
To: Cohousing-L <cohousing-l [at]>
Cc: Mark Westcombe <m.westcombe [at]>,    Jo Gooding
        <jo [at]>
        <CANEXY92brBuNoi0gEVr4YQHR_w8CTfyebUhxLTpZSfvgz4wqQg [at]>
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Hi  Cohousing philosphers and activists,

I appreciate the discussion that my earlier post proposing renaming N
Street style retrofit cohousing as Neigbhorhood Cohousing.  After reading
through the posts, I think we benefit from a list of different cohousing
types so we can better define what we are talking about.

As I thought through different examples of cohousing communities, it was
clear that not all are in a neighborhood (e.g. rural cohousing). nor should
we really call a cohousing community a "neighborhood".  Non-rural cohousing
are subsets of neighborhoods.  N Street Cohousing is part of the Davis
Manor Neighborhood which has its own council that helps with issues
affecting the 200+ homes in the 8 streets in our neighborhood. We make up
10% of the total homes in the neighborhood. So the definition
describes N Street Cohousing but I don't think it is a requirement that the
cohousing communities in a neighborhood have to actively participate in the
larger neighborhood association.

So, here is my cut at different definitions of  subsets of "cohousing".  I
look forward to the discussion.

N Street Cohousing co-founder and cohousing enthusiast

 DRAFT - 19 Dec. 2013

*Cohousing Definition from <>*- *Cohousing
is a type of collaborative housing in which residents actively participate
in the design and operation of their own neighborhoods.*

*Cohousing Definition according to Wikipedia* - *A cohousing[1] community
<> is a type of intentional community
<> composed of private
homes <> supplemented by shared
facilities. The community is planned, owned and managed by the residents ?
who also share activities which may include cooking, dining, child care,
gardening, and governance of the community. Common facilities may include a
kitchen, dining room <>, laundry
<>, child care
<> facilities, offices, internet
access, guest rooms, and recreational features.*

*Some possible definitions of different types of cohousing*

*Rural (Built) Cohousing*  - cohousing in a rural community that is
financed and built mostly all at once. Few nearby neighbors (e.g Heartwood

*Rural Retrofit Cohousing* - A cohousing community that is built around an
existing set of buildings in a rural area and adds additional units to the
property, or neighboring properties over time to create a cohousing
community.  (e.g 100 Acre Wood)

*Ecovillage Cohousing* - an ecovillage made up of cohousing communities
(e.g Ithaca Ecovillage)

*Urban (Built) Cohousing* - high density, multi-level cohousing in a city.
  (e.g Takomoa Village in D.C)

*Urban Retrofit Cohousing* - New built cohousing by converting old
buildings (e.g. Swans Market in Oakland and Doyle Street in Emeryville)

*Neighborhood (Built) Cohousing* - new built cohousing in a new or existing
neighborhood (e.g. Muir Commons in Davis)

*Neighborhood Retrofit (Block) Cohousing* - A block of homes with back to
back yards in an existing neighborhood is converted into a cohousing
community over time - Temescal Creek Cohousing in Oakland.

*Neighborhood Dispersed Cohousing* - Similar to retrofit block cohousing
but member households are anywhere in the neighborhood and a common house
is collectively owned by the members somewhere in the neighborhood.  (e.g.
neighborhood near Cardiff Wales)

*Senior Cohousing* - Any of the above types of cohousing communities that
are limited to seniors.

*Other possible Cohousing Definitions*

*Condo Retrofit Cohousing* - Dispersed member households in an apartment
type condominium community where a percentage of the condos form a
cohousing community and likely use the condos facilities as their common

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