Cohousing: An Antidote to Loneliness, a Path to Community

By Katherine Johnson

“Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships. Humanists long for and strive toward a world of mutual care and concern, free of cruelty and its consequences, where differences are resolved cooperatively without resorting to violence. The joining of individuality with interdependence enriches our lives, encourages us to enrich the lives of others, and inspires hope of attaining peace, justice, and opportunity for all.”

That’s from Humanist Manifesto III. It has special significance for me right now because I’m devoting a great deal of time and energy to creating the first energy-efficient intentional community in the Twin Cities.

This will be a custom-designed neighborhood that will join individuality and interdependence. The model was developed in Denmark in the early 70s and migrated here in the 90s, but it has much older roots in traditional villages. It’s called cohousing.

Each of us involved in this effort sees the benefits of living in a small community where:

  • Private homes combine with shared property and resources (think townhome complex or condominium).
  • Design and development are created by the first residents.
  • Shared spaces are actually used by all residents on a regular basis.
  • Social interaction is encouraged, not discouraged, as is the norm in standard developments.

In my work as a psychologist, I’ve seen the damage that isolation and loneliness can bring to one’s physical, emotional, and cognitive health — and that spurs me on to make our vision a reality.

The project is called Bassett Creek Housing and we are in the process of seeking 20 to 30 members so we can get it off the ground. Of special note, we just engaged a highly experienced marketing director who understands our needs — Stefan Silverman. In fact, since he came on the scene, we’ve gained three new members, including Stefan and his wife, Linda!

We’ve also received publicity from features in the StarTribune and the Edina Sun Current and on TV Channel 5. What a wonderful time of growth as word of our project spreads day by day!
We hope HumanistsMN members will consider attending one of our get-togethers at various locations to share a meal,socialize, and visualize the future of cohousing in the Twin Cities!

These events are coming up:

Thursday, Sept. 19: Quarterly program and potluck of the Twin Cities Cohousing Network. “Do you need a ‘Groupon’ for Cohousing?,” presented by Barb Bailey of the Partnership for Affordable Cohousing. Doors open 5:30 p.m., potluck dinner at 6 p.m., program 6:45 p.m.-8:15 p.m. Location: St. Francis Cabrini Church, 1500 Franklin Ave. SE, Minneapolis. For more information, see the Meetup announcement.

Sunday, Sept. 22: Bassett Creek Cohousing Site Search “In Depth” Meeting, 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. at the First Unitarian Society, 900 Mt. Curve Ave., Minneapolis. This is your chance to engage in more detailed discussion about our search for a site and the goal of our project to create the first energy-efficient urban cohousing community in the Twin Cities! Find more information here.

For more details about events: Check the Bassett Creek Cohousing website, Facebook page, Meetup site, or Eventbrite.  For more details about our Urban Site Search Plan, see here.

Or talk to me at a HumanistsMN event or send me an email at norweegian@gmail.com.  I would love to share my vision with you!

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2 comments

    • Christina Robert on September 10, 2019 at 8:11 pm
    • Reply

    I love this concept and model! I have been toying with such ideas for awhile now and would love to be part of your conversations.

      • Stefan on September 11, 2019 at 12:58 am
      • Reply

      Hi Christina! Kath and I suggest you join us for our Sept 22nd Pot Luck and report on site selection progress. Sign up here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cohousing-potluck-and-progress-report-from-bassett-creek-site-search-tickets-71292103601?utm-medium=discovery&utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&aff=escb&utm-source=cp&utm-term=listing

      Stefan Silverman

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