People's Republic of Cohousing

Berkeley Cohousing now consists of 15 units (14 plus one "associate member" nextdoor) -- mainly cottages and duplexes -- scattered around a green, that also helps filter and buffer runoff from the parking lot on rooftops. Currently there are about 30 residents (more if you count significant others, extended family, associate members, etc.) ranging in age from 78 to 6 months. We include (but aren't limited to) a geriatric care manager, database administrator, former editor of the Cohousing Journal, bookkeeper, manager of a cooperative eco-friendly cleaning service, a teacher and also a dean at a local community college, cultural anthropologist, teacher of math teachers, alternative transportation consultant, two senior cohousing consultants, Unitarian church administrator, nursing student, owner of a window-cleaning business, family visitation supervisor, geriatric personal attendant, financial planner, product manager, retired technical writer and retired social worker. There were then 8 children living in the community: ages 15, 10, three 6-year-olds, 4, 1, and 6 months. We have occasional work parties and building projects. We celebrate everyone's birthdays together. The Common House is used for many events such as movie nights, Balkan folk music concerts, housecleaner training, family get-togethers, bookkeeper training meetings, to name a few. Children are a big part of the community. Parents share childcare, carpools and parenting life. Older kids babysit, mow the lawn and wash cars. Community members have supported each other through a long development process, and through births, marriages, graduations, great adventures, illnesses, and death. We would love to have neighbors who are familiar with cohousing principles and are choosing this lifestyle, are financially independent with a stable income; who value our three community meals a week and are willing to participate in cooking and cleaning rotations; who are willing to participate in our monthly general meetings and work on a committee.

While there there are plenty of coops and group houses in The People's Republic of Berkeley, many cohousing seekers are surprised to learn that there's just one cohousing neighborhood there so far, despite a number of attempts over the past decade.