Asheville Homes and LAND!- The Keep In Touch Blog


Cohousing, A Trend-in-the-Making?

I ‘m wondering if, like me, you are seeing a growing interest in cohousing ? Is this an idea whose day has come? Possibly even a trend-in-the-making? I'm heading out this morning cohousing with a heart in ashevilleto do some "hands-on" research.

I'm going to look at one eco-developer's concept for an ecovillage with cohousing potentials,not far from Asheville.  Here's what I know so far: An ecovillage may be in an urban or rural area and is not defined by its location, but rather by concept.

I've been told that  this one  (still in progress) will be defined by another standard: the very caring eco-developer's love of nature. This could make it unique, something especially interesting to the Brokers at our Firm and our real estate clients.

So... will I find this special attention to nature plus the defining characteristics of the eco-community?

              • Sense of community by design
              • Common areas and facilities
              • Participation

If so, that could be cohousing with a heart! (see photo I picked to symbolize this) and I'll let you know in an upcoming post. . . .

One thing I have surmised already, and  just from engaging conversations with the "green" developer here in Asheville is that this place  is designed  to meet the needs of residents interested in and ready to practice sustainability.  

Example: I discovered that all homes to be constructed here must be sustainable "green" homes . (For interesting information about Healthy Built Homes including the Gold, Silver and Bronze Ratings Scale click here. )

Not surprisingly, given this is an eco-community in the making, the very first (green-built) structure on the property will be a central  gathering place, the social center of a community. Patterned after the old grist mill that once stood on the property,  it is planned to be a place where seminars can be held, and  where neighbors can get together to enjoy a large dining area- kitchen- lounge and  (this is in my mind's eye) can revel in the locally grown fare.

To me, as an  ECO certified  real estate consultant® one of the most exciting aspects of this place is the overall  design of this eco-community. The friendly developers tell me  that it is grounded in the concept of "net zero energy" where green-built homes and renewable resources give an appreciative nod to Mother Nature.

  I, myself,  love just the thought of exploring the trails  that lead to conservation lands, on three sides, and the old apple orchard and vineyard on that conservation land. I'm struck with the fact that this is an authentic "green plan" with room for plenty of  social contact and individual space. As a member of the community, folks can enjoy a shared sense of caring for all who live there .

As a REALTOR®, I realize that this will be so attractive to  a diverse group of interested people. This could turn out to be a novel approach to cohousing!  For our clients who long for this combination, just knowing that may actually be "out here" makes me smile.  If it is the real deal, as I suspect, I'd better include some smelling salts  in my first aid kit  as  our clients are going to swoon with delight.    (I'm smiling.)

Resources: Existing Ecovillages/ Sustainable Eco-Communities

Sunward Cohousing near Ann Arbor, MI. ... A place "where lives are simplified, the earth is respected, diversity is welcomed, children play together in safety, and living in community with neighbors comes naturally."

Winslow Cohousing  on Bainbridge Island near Seattle, WA. ...Where residents aim to "a minimal impact on the earth and create a place in which all residents are equally valued as part of the community."

 EcoVillage at Ithaca, NY.  ...Here the goal is "to explore and model innovative approaches to ecological and social sustainability."  

Earthaven Ecovillage   near Asheville, N.C.... Where residents are "dedicated to caring for people and the Earth by learning, living, and demonstrating a holistic, sustainable culture."


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janeAnne, this sounds like a fascinating project.  Keep us informed as to its progress.  I may have to visit it once it is completed.  Your community is truly a leader in innovation and sustainability!

Posted by Diane Aurit, Lake Norman Real Estate (LKN Realty, LLC) over 10 years ago

I like being out there with nature and I like the way you take it one or more steps farther. I go into dream world and wish I was back with nature. I guess if I lived in Asheville I would not get my work done.

Posted by Susan Trombley, Broker/Realtor, Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, Youngs (Trombley Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Always a very informative post.  I like the information as well as how it is presented from a very positive approach.  Thank you for assisting us in learning to not onl;y think green, but to live green as well.

Posted by L. Wayne Denton, I have a handle on your market!!! (Denton Properties, Inc.) over 10 years ago

I have been reading up on cohousing and I think it is a great idea.  I love the marriage with the eco world -- what a fascinating concept.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 10 years ago

There are a few cohousing developments in Davis.  They always have a long waiting list to get in.  the ecovillage sounds interesting.

Posted by Carolyn Gjerde-Tu-Davis, Ca Real Estate (Lyon Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Cohousing sounds similar to voluntary simplicity (or an aspect of it).

I imagine that people of different generations participate as well?

Posted by John Narrin (ECO-Steward Realty) over 10 years ago

Dear all, to get a view from within cohousing, watch the documentary "Voices of Cohousing. Rebuilding villages in the city", award winner at the 34th Ekotopfilm festival 2007 and nominated at 9th Gold Panda Awards. For trailer and info: Enjoy!

Posted by Matthieu over 10 years ago

Thanks for the link , Matthieu...I will check it out...

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 10 years ago


Thanks for your interest. Hickory Nut Forest, is, as you say, a "community ... truly a leader in innovation and sustainability! " ...It is planned to be a Net Zero Community with a diverse residential population...that does not exclude willd turkeys, deer...and maybe an occasional bear..=)

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 10 years ago


If you lived in Asheville, I bet your work would be in eco-communities where you could do your work and  be close to nature ...simultaneously..I'm smiling.

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 10 years ago

L. Wayne~

It is a pleasure to share my stories/posts with y'all. I consider myself to be a very fortunate real estate person...and hope that many more GREEN opportunities arise for all of towns and lands across the nation.

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 10 years ago

I first came across cohousing in the early nineties - it is encouraging to see its movement forward. I also like the new zoning codes for cottage development in Asheville and some other areas of the country - it allows for small clusters (5-12) of small houses of 1200 sq ft. or less. I think these ideas are taking "new urbanism" where it needs to go.

Posted by Ron Czecholinski (Natural Choice) over 10 years ago

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