For all of the connected-ness and productivity supposedly afforded modern society by technology, examining quality of life in these United States in the context of both individual families and communities can reveal a rather fractured existence. For some, the antidote is the Danish concept of cohousing- where families still live in their own private homes, but within neighborhoods that are designed and operated in a collaborative manner by their residents. The idea is that by designing communities to operate with ultimate efficiency by harnessing the strength of collective- to handle chores (cooking, landscaping), share responsibilities (child care, helping the elderly) and manage various resources, etc.- a more sustainable lifestyle is attained by all. Cohousing communities already exist in the United States, even in the Atlanta area (more on that in a bit)- but in a sad irony, generally cohousing opportunities are not available for the people who would most benefit from such an arrangement, i.e. the poor. Instead, cohousing is primarily embraced by affluent, educated white folks with the time to spend on the inordinate amount of planning and organization required to actually make a cohousing arrangement work. Though Atlanta's two existing cohousing communities are well-established one in Lake Claire and another, East Lake Commons, in Decatur, widespread adoption of the concept seems unlikely. Even so, the full piece from Grist is a worthwhile read.
· Cohousing: The secret to sustainable urban living? [Grist]
· East Lake Commons [official site]
· Lake Claire Cohousing [cohousing.org]