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Cohousing Does Not Require You to Live With Jennifer Aniston

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By Virginia C. McGuire
Cohousing has all the benefits of being an independent grownup and living in your parents' garage. The idea is that you live in a condo or a townhouse unit all your own, but you share a lot of common space with your neighbors. A Mt. Airy group, Wissahickon Village Cohousing, is hoping to start such a development in Northwest Philly. They plan to have a shared garden, a large dining room for shared meals, shared laundry facilities, a shared art studio, and even guest rooms.

"People spend a lot of money on having that extra bedroom," says Abby Weinberg, a spokesperson for the group.

The group formed in 2010, and Weinberg said they're negotiating with a developer for a possible site on Germantown Avenue. But the location isn't in the bag yet, so the group is being hush-hush about the exact
spot. That makes the timeline rather uncertain.

"If we moved in in two years, that would be a miracle," Weinberg says.

They also need more members. They currently have 12 dues-paying households, but hope for 25 to 35 households before all is said and done. They're hoping to attract people of varying ages, including more families with kids, Weinberg says.

Some people might not like the idea of having an interdependent relationship with their neighbors. But there are a lot of imaginable benefits. If you hurt your back and can't shovel snow, no problem. Need a babysitter? You can probably scare one up within your community. Don't live near family? Someone is sure to be making
Thanksgiving dinner in the kitchen of the common house and you have a standing invitation.

The group has three informational meetings coming up. Info here. If you go, tell us what you think! We're so curious about this whole co-housing thing.