Re: Inter-generational age-in-place co-housing communities - are there any out there?
From: Jenny Guy (
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 2015 13:45:05 -0700 (PDT)
I have also noticed that 2-story townhomes/row houses are more common in
cohousing than flats, except in dense, multi-story communities. For a
suburban or semi-rural site, where 2 stories are required to get the needed
density, it would be an option to have single story flats on top of each
other, instead of each home having an upstairs and a downstairs. That is
often done with the small 2-bedroom units, but not any of the larger homes.
If you had two stories of flats, then all the ground floor ones could be
completely accessible. On the other hand, if you have townhouses, then 100%
can be made visitable. I think the flats would be better for accessibility
overall, though.

I think what happens -- and I'd welcome input from folks experienced in the
process -- is, early in the design process the group makes the choice
between flats on top of each other, or townhomes with bedrooms upstairs.
Many people don't seem to want to live over or under anyone else, so they
go for the townhomes. I have lived most of my adult life in old,
multi-family buildings with thin walls, so I don't really 'get' the desire
to avoid being over or under another family, but it seems to be pretty

So I'm guessing that might be what has driven the creation of so many
2-story cohousing homes. I'd love to hear from folks who have been through
the process, what the considerations were, when making that decision. Maybe
townhomes have a higher resale value. Or if the site is not flat, they can
step up or down the hill at more frequent intervals. Townhomes lose square
footage to all those staircases, but everyone has a ground floor entrance.
And I'm sure there are many other factors I'm not thinking of.

Jenny Guy
Kingfisher Cohousing, Oakland Calif.

On Fri, Aug 7, 2015 at 5:12 AM, Nancy Baughman Csuti <nancycsuti [at]>

> I am very interested in this same thing. I am not yet in my 60's, but
> getting close. I very much want to live in cohousing. I have been unable to
> find any with single story homes (except ones in high rise buildings). I
> was wondering if the multiple level houses, which I know have a smaller
> footprint, are the only option for cohousing.
> My understanding from my friends in local cohousing is that they do meet
> these needs you have listed - except for the accessible construction.
> I am looking forward to responses.
> thanks,
> Nancy
> Colorado

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