What is Cohousing?
◾Cohousing neighborhoods are composed of privately-owned homes clustered around shared open space and common facilities.
◾A common house typically includes a dining room, kitchen, workshop space, kids area, guest rooms and lounge; it is the heart of the neighborhood for community diners and a variety of activities.
◾Cars are kept to the exterior of the site making the neighborhood pedestrian-friendly, kid-friendly and elderly-friendly.
◾Future residents are involved in the design so that it reflects their real needs and priorities, not those of a typical developer.
◾Environmental sustainability is a core value in cohousing projects with smaller homes, green building attributes and renewable energy systems made possible by combined efforts and shared resources.
◾On-site activities and companionship enable residents to socialize close to home, and helping to decrease the need to drive.
◾Overall this housing model brings social, environmental and economic benefits for a more sustainable lifestyle.
The design and placement of the 24 Heddlestone Village duplex homes enhances and encourages community interaction while maintaining private spaces behind each home. Heddlestone is pedestrian-oriented, with parking at the entrance to the property. This keeps our living space peaceful, safe and attractive. Handcarts are used for transporting goods from parking lot to homes.
Private Homes Supplemented by Common Facilities
Our privately-owned individual homes are supplemented by common facilities available for daily use by all residents. At Heddlestone Village our ‘Common House’ includes a kitchen/dining area and outdoor patio, lounge, playroom, 3 activity rooms, 2 guest rooms and a laundry room. There is a children’s outdoor play space and future developments planned include community gardens and several outbuildings for storage or other activities. Each private residence is a completely self-contained duplex unit.
The people who live at Heddlestone Village manage the financial, landscaping and building maintenance functions of the community. We hire professionals to do specific tasks and we also rely on residents to participate in the care of the community, recognizing different interests & abilities. It is this level of volunteerism that builds strong bonds within our community.
Non-hierarchical Structure and Decision-making
Our organizational structure includes a Council of the whole and a series of committees designed to share the volunteer workload among the members of the community. Decisions are made using a modified consensus process, which works to include all points of view, and reflects choices that are for the good of the whole community.
Dinners are served in the Common House Monday through Friday and there is one meal on the weekend, which may be a breakfast, brunch or dinner. Meals are prepared by residents on a rotating volunteer basis, with each adult resident having one head-cook shift and one prep-cook shift in each seven week cycle. Community members participate in common meals as often as they wish.
- Our community does its best to practice the following principles of communication:
- Let everyone be as they are.
- Nobody gets to be wrong.
- Stay true to your real “no”.
- Ask for what you want.
- Be aware of triangulation.
Each of us undertakes to do our best to honour the statements below:
Show kindness, respect and consideration.
- I value and respect the different contributions and perspectives of all individuals.
- I take responsibility for owning my actions and naming my feelings.
Accept that the process is imperfect.
- I give myself and others permission to make mistakes.
Listen with respect.
- I listen to understand, consider when to come forward and I respect others’ rights to speak without interruption.
Speak for yourself.
- I will use "I" statements, speaking succinctly for myself, not others.
- I will make my messages and requests direct and simple by being clear with my intentions, either to learn or to be efficient.
- I respect confidentiality and avoid negative gossip. I undertake to keep relationships within the group clear by dealing with any problematic issues directly with the persons concerned.
Honour your individuality.
- I am honest about my observations, feelings and needs. Aware of the needs of the group, I endeavour to be confident when I see something no one else does.
- I will be flexible with my personal attachments and work towards what's not only best for myself, but best for the group.
- Attitudes of curiosity and openness are more beneficial. I recognize that we work best together when we remember to have fun!