Books on Cohousing

The Essential Books

Cover of Cohousing HandbookCohousing Handbook: Building a Place for Community by Chris ScottHanson (Second edition 2004, with Kelly ScottHanson)

One of the earliest and most respected book on cohousing by the designer of the first cohousing communities in the United States. A hands-on guide to building cohousing, this practical manual will give you the basics you need to know to get your Cohousing group off the ground and built.

This book is a guide, a manual, and a source of comfort and inspiration for those who want to create their ideal community. Cohousing is our opportunity to build a better society, one neighborhood at a time.

The Cohousing Handbook covers every element that goes into the creation of a cohousing project including:

  • Group Processes
  • Construction
  • Finances and Budgets
  • Land Acquisition
  • Design Considerations
  • Permits and Approvals
  • Marketing and Membership
  • Working with Design and Development Professionals

 

Cover of Pocket Neighborhoods by Ross ChapinPocket Neighborhoods: Creating Small-Scale Community in a Large-Scale World by Ross Chapin, Architect.

Pocket Neighborhoods are small-scale neighborhoods where empty nesters single householders, and families can find friendship and a helping hands nearby, and where children have shirt-tail aunt and uncles across the yard. Stories of the people who live there, as well as the progressive planners, innovative architects, pioneering developers, craftspeople and gardeners who helped create them.

Presents the history of shift in the scale of communities over several generations to super-sized houses in seas of development and presents his solution to restore healthy, livable communities. Surveys the pocket neighborhood precursors in history and contemporary equivalents:  New Urban communities, affordable housing, houseboat communities, eco-neighborhoods, and pocket neighborhoods. Full discussion of cohousing in Denmark, America, Australia, and New Zealand. Senior cohousing. Retrofitting neighborhoods.  Highlights the essential principles of pocket neighborhood planning and design, and anecdotes about personal experiences. Photographs, drawings, illustrations and site plans, and a further resources .

 

Cover of Creating CohousingCreating Cohousing: Building Sustainable Communities by Kathryn McCamant and Charles Durrett.

The cohousing “bible” by Kathryn McCamant and Charles Durrett, award-winning architects who introduced the concept of cohousing to the United States in their first book Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves. Katy and Chuck have designed more than fifty cohousing communities in the United States and consulted on many more around the world. They founded The Cohousing Company: McCamant & Durrett Architects. They are credited in the Oxford English Dictionary for creating the word “cohousing” from “cooperative” and “housing,” in their 1988 book, Cohousing. (This book is out of print but worth a trip to ABE Books to find a used copy.)

 

Cover of Senior CohousingThe Senior Cohousing Handbook: A Community Approach to Independent Living, by Charles Durrett, 2nd Edition

The latest title in the essential readings on cohousing covers the fastest growing type of cohousing — communities for aging Baby-Boomers and others. These over-55 communities are often created next door to a more typical multigenerational cohousing community. These communities are built by the future residents and designed to meet their needs, not those households with children.

Senior cohousing is for the healthy, educated, and proactive adults who want to live in a social and environmentally vibrant community. Custom-built neighborhoods organized for health, longevity, and quality of life.

Senior Cohousing is a comprehensive guide to joining or creating a cohousing project. The author deals with all the psychological and logistical aspects of senior cohousing and addresses common concerns, fears, and misunderstandings. He emphasizes the many positive benefits of cohousing, including:

  • Better physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health
  • Friendships and accessible social contact
  • Safety and security
  • Affordability
  • Shared resources