We are an urban cohousing community with 12 townhouses and a common house on one acre. About half the households have children, and these kids are like siblings to each other. The adults range in age from 30 to 50. We have common dinners twice a week and potlucks several times a month. Our common meals are vegetarian, but only half our members eat vegetarian in their own homes. The architecture is beautiful and the gardens are lush, lending a European-village feeling to our small site. Our small size (13 households) makes for an intimate group, but it’s harder to get things done. We recycle, we compost, and we have a small organic garden. We make decisions by consensus.
The Lake Claire Cohousing community is located in the Lake Claire neighborhood of Atlanta, just west of Decatur, just east of Candler Park and Little Five Points, and a few miles south of Emory University. We’re only about a ten-minute walk from MARTA, Atlanta’s rapid-transit system, on which you can easily travel to downtown Atlanta, Decatur, and the airport. We are also next door to the Lake Claire Community Land Trust, a sort of homemade neighborhood park which features a gazebo, a sandbox, a water garden, a fire circle, a sweat lodge, and even a stage for performances.
Lake Claire was the first cohousing community built in Georgia and one of the first in the Southeast. (In the Atlanta area, we have since been joined by the East Lake Ecovillage in south Decatur.) There are 13 households at Lake Claire, along with a common house, two courtyards, fountains, and a community garden—all on about one acre of land.
What is cohousing?
Cohousing began in Denmark in the late 1960s, spread throughout Scandinavia and other parts of Europe, and then made its way to the US beginning in the late 1980s. Katherine McCamant and Charles Durrett, husband and wife architects from San Francisco, lived in various cohousing communities in Denmark for a few years and then wrote a book entitled “Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves.” That book helped spread the cohousing concept to America, where the first community was built in Berkeley. There are now several dozen cohousing communities throughout the US, and more than a hundred groups in the process of development.
Cohousing is an attempt to reconcile the need for greater community with the need for privacy and personal space.
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