intentional communities

Cohousing and the Return to Communal Living - Karin Hoskin

Photo of  Wild Sage Cohousing : Adam Johnson

Photo of Wild Sage Cohousing: Adam Johnson

The intentional part of intentional communities is that we choose to know our neighbors.
— Karin Hoskin

I know many of you, like me, dream of decamping the modern existence to live in the solace of the woods or on a bucolic homestead—just as many of our Uncivilize guests have done. But many of you also may not yet be able to fully commit to that dream (like me) or perhaps don’t even want to commit to that dream; that what, in fact, you are searching for is a more connected human existence in the 21st-century city or town in which you already live. To you, I introduce cohousing, an intentional community-on-the-rise best described as a modern and sustainable take on the village (or commune) of yesteryear. 

And to give you the rundown, I introduce Karin Hoskin, executive director of The Cohousing Association of the United States, who lives with her husband, two teenage kids, mother-in-law, two cats and two dogs in Wild Sage Cohousing in Boulder, Colo. Wild Sage is a community of 91 people living in 34 homes on an acre-and-a-half of land surrounded by nature and open space; but as Karin explains here, the possibilities for cohousing are as diverse as their settings and the folks who choose to live there. (There’s a mixed-income bike-sharing condo community in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood and a rural cabin community eight miles west of Fairbanks, Alaska!)

Here’s the episode breakdown:

  • How Karin came to live in cohousing and with her mother-in-law

  • When did it become so uncommon to live with extended family?

  • “There were always people in, people out”: Karin’s upbringing with dozens of cousins in the farming Midwest

  • Cohousing, explained, and the difference between cohousing and other intentional communities

  • What it’s like to raise kids in cohousing, from babyhood to the teenage years

  • Why you don’t have to be an extrovert to live in cohousing 

  • Karin’s thoughts on the future of urbanization and the rise in communal living

Want to explore cohousing communities or learn how to start your own? Check out the wealth of resources on the Coho/US website or attend the upcoming 2019 National Cohousing Conference, May 30-June 2, in Portland, Ore. (At last check, tickets are still available. The conference also includes tours of seven Portland cohousing communities.) You can also connect with Karin and Coho/US via FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Editorial note (5/6/19): A small portion of this episode has been edited since the original episode that aired on 4/25/19. The change was made due to privacy concerns, and in no way alters the meaning or context of the original interview.

Photo of  Wild Sage Cohousing : Adam Johnson

Photo of Wild Sage Cohousing: Adam Johnson

Photo of  Wild Sage Cohousing : Adam Johnson

Photo of Wild Sage Cohousing: Adam Johnson

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