In the late 1960s, a group of Danish families, dissatisfied with existing urban and suburban living options, decided to create their own resident-developed neighbourhood. This was created as an alternative to traditional housing models.
Desiring a community where residents knew their neighbours, and where people would look out for each other, they created “bofoellesskaber” – literally translated as “living communities.” Such communities increased safety, reduced the stresses of child care and cooking, and helped individuals to pursue their own goals while living in a supportive community. In addition, such communities reduced impact on the land and were built in environmentally sensitive and sustainable ways.
Cohousing was introduced in North America in the 1980s, by architects Charles Durrett and Katherine McCamant, who coined the term “cohousing” to describe this style of development. There are now more than 14 completed cohousing communities in Canada with another 5 in process and the United States had 150 complete and about 140 in various stages of planning and development.