a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

Co-How-sing? cooperative housing is user-friendly

by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

Jerry and I first saw a co-housing community in Asheville, NC in 2004. The common sense, community-oriented, space-sharing eco-friendliness of it captured our attention and our eco-hearts. We were already living downtown in a dense, historic area, but we wanted to take the next step towards living both more sustainably and more communally. We eventually landed in a co-housing community in Carrboro, NC. It is conveniently located just 2.5 miles from the downtown area where many local businesses thrive, including a food co-op and music club.

Here in Arcadia, we make a small footprint with 33 passive and active solar homes on 16.5 acres, of which 6 acres are preserved as forested and open space. There are no roads running through the area, only foot paths. There are no garages, driveways, or overhead outdoor lights (hello stars!). There is an organic garden, shared composting and a Common House with guest rooms, playroom, dining and laundry.

Common living means people living holistically in a small, efficient way, but it also means common sense and – sharing resources, ideals and even meals. Private homes include all the ameneties of a conventional home, but the neighhborhood design encourages both social contact and individual space.

Most people wonder how and why it all works, so here is a really good list of FAQ.

My experience? We have been completely eco-happy co-existing in co-housing!

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