Will Cohousing Catch on With Boomers?

April 13, 2016

The concept of cohousing has been gaining traction in the U.S. But what is it? Basically, these are developments where residents share group kitchens, car rides, and other amenities. More than 150 such communities exist and 14 are being planned across the country exclusively for seniors, according to the Cohousing Association of the United States.

These places are often committed to sustainable living as well. EcoVillage is one such example in upstate New York, where 240 senior residents share amenities. EcoVillage has three neighborhoods consisting of townhomes, single-family homes, and apartments for retirees. But residents use 5,000-square-foot common houses for meals and gatherings.

“One part of the appeal is cohousing communities are mostly, if not entirely, run and organized by residents,” says Stockton Williams, executive director of the Terwilliger Center for Housing at the Urban Land Institute in Washington, D.C. “It’s an approach to creating a more tightly knit sense of community among people with similar values, which seems to be an aspiration that many baby boomers have.”

Another cohousing community called Quimper Village in Port Townsend, Wash., is geared for ages 55-and-up. It will be completed in 2017. It will feature 28 condos ranging from $277,000 to $425,000.

“People who live in a community live healthier and happier and have more fun,” says Pat Hundhausen, 75, who cofounded Quimper Village with her husband. “We wanted to be more proactive about aging and not get caught up in some corporate or medical model.”

Source: “From Shared Values to Shared Quarters,” Bloomberg Businessweek (March 24, 2016)