Cohousing is a type of collaborative housing that attempts to overcome the alienation of modern subdivisions in which no-one knows their neighbors and there is no sense of community. It is characterized by private dwellings and extensive common facilities. Here at Bellingham Cohousing we have defined our collective sense of community through our principles:
- We trust, respect and accept one another.
- We bring joy to our work and play.
- We resolve conflict responsibly.
- We live interdependently and acknowledge our individuality.
- We contribute to our community.
- We care for each other.
- We live lightly on the earth.
An important element that sets Cohousing apart from a typical neighborhood setting is participation, which acts as a kind of glue that strengthens our relationships. Neighbor participation is expected here at Bellingham Cohousing and can occur in several ways. For example, we do most of the landscaping and maintenance ourselves. Doing work around the property is a way of both keeping the place tidy and of interacting with neighbors. Committee and general community meetings are held on a regular basis, and participation in these is a way to contribute ideas to the collective wisdom of the community and to make sure that decisions are made in the best interest of the entire community.
Bellingham Cohousing is a living situation that requires considerable neighbor participation. Bellingham Cohousing residents dedicate as much as 20 hours per month attending committee meetings, planning meals and community activities, and working on community projects.
Bellingham Cohousing offers many opportunities for neighbors to develop and foster a sense of community through:
- Optional common meals several times a week
- Working together on projects around the site and in groups and committees
- Managing our community together through consensus-based decision-making
- Community-wide celebrations of major life events: Already we have had 2 weddings and fantastic birthday celebrations
- And…casual discussions, book groups, salon-style discussions, a regular mid-morning coffee klatch, barbecues and potlucks, performances and talent shows, impromptu dinner concerts, and other shared activities ranging from shopping expeditions to sea kayaking and backcountry skiing