Many of the folks at Unitarian Commons have been thinking and learning about cohousing and accessible design for many years. Below are some of the resources we’ve found to be most helpful.
The Dangers of Loneliness
Friendship is a lot like food. We need it to survive. Psychologists find that human beings have a fundamental need for inclusion in group life and for close relationships. Co-housing is a way to reduce loneliness & create shared community.
“The Different Drum” by M. Scott Peck
The first half of this book is most relevant to cohousing communities.
(description of her co-housing experience starts about halfway through)
Newsclip about desperate search for accessible housing (Judy Kerr)-
apologies for any ads that might appear first –
Slide presentation by accessibility designer Thea Kurdi:
How cohousing can make us happier (and live longer):
Some great reading for supporters of the “Living in Place” movement:
“Doing Democracy: The MAP model…” by Bill Moyer
You don’t need to read the entire book, if you are short of time. The first half is the important part. He describes the 8 stages of any movement.
“This is an Uprising” by Mark Engler & Paul Engler
Analysis of non-violent strategy. Excellent as supplement to Bill Moyer’s book.
Read them for lots of great ideas. Both books are in the Toronto library.
Lene Anderson is an advocate for universal design.
See her blog at:
At Vancouver Cohousing, each unit has its own small yard or balcony. Shared amenities include a spacious kitchen and dining room in the common building, a yoga studio, shared office space, children’s play area, laundry room, craft room, teen room, workshop, bike room, storage room, central courtyard, rooftop deck, a deck which will serve as community garden space in the future, and two guest rooms for visitors. Residents hold monthly meetings in which decisions are made by consensus and the aim is to have four communal meals a week — residents don’t have to attend, but they must sign up for a cooking team every month or two to help with preparations.
Canadian Cohousing Network (CCN)
The Canadian Cohousing Network (CCN) was formed in 1992 in British Columbia, Canada. It is a registered non-profit organization that promotes the creation of cohousing communities as a model for sustainable development by raising public awareness about cohousing and by bringing people together to form communities. The most valuable function of the CCN is making connections with people who are interested in living in a cohousing community. CCN links individuals and cohousing groups together to share resources and make the process of creating a community easier and more economical.
Please visit, like & post re need for accessible cohousing, and please invite your friends to check out these Facebook pages too.
Visit our Unitarian Commons Facebook page:
Facebook page for “Living in Place” campaign:
Universal accessibility is a human rights issue
Under the 2007 UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, member states “recognize the equal right of all persons with disabilities to live in the community, with choices equal to others, and shall take effective and appropriate measures to facilitate full enjoyment by persons with disabilities of this right and their full inclusion and participation in the community, including by ensuring that:
a. …the opportunity to choose their place of residence and where and with whom they live on an equal basis with others and are not obliged to live in a particular living arrangement;
b. … access to a range of in-home, residential and other community support services, including personal assistance necessary to support living and inclusion in the community, and to prevent isolation or segregation from the community”. (UN, Article 19 – Living independently and being included in the community)
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Ontario Human Rights Code both ban discrimination based on age or disability.
However, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) does not include housing. The Ontario Building Code merely requires that 15% of apartments be “visitable”, not livable. Thus, both contravene the Charter and the Ontario Human Rights Code.
CBC Documentary on Seniors’ Cohousing
Have you heard the CBC radio documentary about seniors’ cohousing?
Five years ago they didn’t know each other. Now, they are a tribe – at Harbourside Cohousing in Sooke, BC – neighbours prepared to live together and help look after each other, with any luck, ’til the end of their days.
Building Community with Cohousing
In Building Community with Cohousing, filmmakers Dany Gagnon and Regan Payne interview cohousing residents from WindSong Cohousing Community (completed 1996), Cranberry Commons Cohousing (completed 2001) and Roberts Creek Cohousing (completed 2005).