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What is cohousing?

"Mi lenne ha kisebb lenne az öko-lábnyomod?"

részlet a Richmond CoHousing tagtobrozó felhívásából

The term cohousing refers to a living arrangement in which residents, along the lines of shared goals and interests, develop their environment and community through collaboration. Residents share responsibilities with one another voluntarily and consciously, sharing spaces, equipment, tasks and activities.


There are of course many different levels to community living, depending on the previously designated functions and dimensions of the available communal spaces.

While communal areas, such as staircases, storage rooms, hallways and courtyards are often shared in other forms of housing establishments as well, in cohousing initiatives community areas are given a larger weight, such as a shared living room, a playroom for children, or a sauna.

Arrangements in which residents, rather than owning private apartments, share the living room and kitchen of a house or apartment while inhabiting private rooms, are referred to as apartment communities.

Fundamental characteristics of cohousing projects


1.      Residents actively take part in designing their building, organising community activities             and day-to-day maintenance

People taking part in a cohousing project agree to collaborate with each other and to set up a shared conceptual framework to resolve disputes and make decisions.

2.      The building or refurbishing of the house is the result of joint design

When designing the private and shared spaces in their cohousing project, members discuss what spaces they need and participate in the drawing of plans in close cooperation with architects.

3.      The house consists of both private spaces and community areas

Everyone has their private space suited to individual needs and shares jointly designed community areas, such as a kitchen, a dining room or a laundry room.

4.      Residents manage the affairs and community life of the building together

The building is not run by an external company or an individual. Residents maintain the building and organise the official affairs of the building or estate, including gardening or choosing new residents.

5.      Decision-making is non-hierarchical

Residents make decisions together by consensus.

6.      Wealth and income are not shared

Cohousing projects are not communes. It can be described as a collaborating community of neighbours which is built on the community rather than the sharing of income and wealth. 

Other important characteristics may include:

  • Well-functioning communities are usually made up of 12 to 36 private apartments or houses.

  • Cars are not allowed in the bounds of the building, in some cases residents do not own cars.

  • Regular community activities are organised, often involving cooking and having meals together.

  • Groups of residents take part in the development and daily life of the community to a different extent.

Források: Babos Annamária, Horogh Petra, K,Theisler Katalin: Co-housing: Példák Bécsben és a közösségi együttélés lehetőségei Budapesten. Utóirat: a Régi-Új Magyar Építőművészet melléklete. 18 (2018) 101-. 69-76.

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