A woman I met at a brunch last weekend mentioned she, her husband and 5-year-old had just moved into co-housing. Right next to the gorgeous Arboretum, the co-housing is 40 units of different shapes and sizes for all kinds of people in Madison, Wi, each individually owned by a person or family. It takes an idea from Denmark and makes it work for today’s over-sized American lifestyle. They share a common garden, kitchen, dining hall, play area and meeting space. It’s the antithesis to the McMansion–It’s the modern commune. They have solar panels, sustainable bamboo flooring, and babysitting co-ops. It’s not a surprise that like Alison said in her blog earlier this week, the kitchen is the center of their world. The members cook together, eat together, and are downsizing by choice.
There are about 200 co-housing developments in different building stages around the country, and there is enough interest that the first annual National Co-housing conference will take place June 24-28 in Seattle. We can learn a lot in these times and this economy from people who are making big choices to make a bigger difference.