In hard economic times, shared housing, in one form or another, offers perhaps the most sensible and easiest way to cut costs.
Shared housing decreases the cost (and use of resources) per person, and increases the opportunities for social interaction and shared work and responsibility.
There are a number of types of “sharing” housing. Even the nuclear family home can be seen as shared housing—although an “extended” nuclear family with as many people as you can handle makes more sense. Boarding houses (also called “rooming houses”) are another way people share housing.
Communal living, where a group of perhaps unrelated people live together in one house, or in a cluster of houses has been popular for a long time. There are also ecovillages and intentional communities.
One of the most interesting forms of shared housing is “cohousing”, where people don’t share homes but do share common facilities.
If your home is big enough, or can be made big enough, open a boarding house. Offer rooms on a weekly or monthly basis, and include as many meals a day as you feel you’re up to. You should probably at least include breakfast and likely even dinner, giving your guests a choice as to which plan they prefer.
Cohousing is collaborative housing that attempts to overcome the alienation of modern subdivisions where people don’t know their neighbors, and there is no sense of community.
It’s characterized by private dwellings with their own kitchen, living-dining room etc, but also extensive common facilities. The common building may include a large dining room, kitchen, lounges, meeting rooms, recreation facilities, library, workshops, childcare.
Usually, cohousing communities are designed and managed by the residents, and are intentional neighborhoods: the people are consciously committed to living as a community; the physical design itself encourages that and facilitates social contact.
The typical cohousing community has 20 to 30 single family homes along a pedestrian street or clustered around one or more courtyards. Residents of cohousing communities often have at least several optional group meals in the common building each week.
This type of housing began in Denmark in the late 1960s, and spread to North America in the late 1980s. There are now more than 80 cohousing communities across the continent, with many more in progress.
Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves
Author: Kathryn McCamant
A contemporary approach to housing ourselves.
The Senior Cohousing Handbook, 2nd Edition: A Community Approach to Independent Living
Author: Charles Durrett
Designing cohousing communities for senior living.
Cohousing Association of the United States
Community list, products and services, resources, news.
The people that pioneered cohousing in North America.
Intentional Communities / Ecovillages It takes a village to raise an adult. We all need villages, even if they’re just mini-villages in urban areas. (We call those “neighborhoods”. ) Many people around the planet are working together to create new, or modify old, communities to be sustainable, to focus on humans not cars, and to provide healthy, people-friendly places to work, play, grow and learn.
City Comforts: How to Build an Urban Village, Revised Edition
Author: David Sucher
How to build an urban village.
Communities Directory, 2007: A Comprehensive Guide to Intentional Communities and Cooperative Living
Editor: Fellowship of Intentional Communities
A guide to intentional communities and cooperative living.
Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities
Author: Diana Leafe Christian
Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities.
Ecovillage Living: Restoring the Earth and Her People
Author: Hildur Jackson
Restoring the Earth and Her People.
Ecovillages: A Practical Guide to Sustainable Communities
Author: Jan Martin Bang
A practical guide to sustainable communities.
Global Ecovillage Network
A global confederation of people and communities, both urban and rural, that meet and share ideas, exchange technologies, and develop cultural and educational exchanges, directories and newsletters. An outstanding resource.
A worldwide guide to ecovillages, cohousing, residential land trusts, communes, student co-ops, urban housing cooperatives and other related projects and dreams.
Toward Sustainable Communities: Resources for Citizens and Their Governments
Author: Mark Roseland
Resources for Citizens and Their Governments.
Utopian EcoVillage Network
U.S. organization dedicated to the development, growth and enhancement of small local communities with a focus on dealing with energy shortages.