(Excerpted from Raines' forthcoming chapter in Audacious Aging)
In Denmark in the early 1970s, families looking for deeper connections with neighbors and support for raising kids together pioneered a new form of neighborhood, one combining private homes with a large shared area. A common house included shared kitchen and dining area that they could use together a few times a week, while they still had the independence of their own kitchens in their own homes. Cars were pushed to the edge, with design for walkability. Folks could share in childcare, but weren’t forced to do everything together. This “yes, and...” principle of adding choices turned out to provide a high quality of life without adding much cost to basic homeownership. People live in smaller, greener homes in a hundred neighborhoods around the country, living richer lives for less.
We call this cohousing. In more than 100 neighborhoods across the country, it offers condominiums with community, developed by the residents. "Intentional Neighborhoods" that start green and get greener. Where you know your neighbors, and build the shared experience that makes it easy to trust and share. In projects that cities will approve and banks will finance (even when the economy is stalled everywhere else) because the future residents are part of the process, investing and sharing an interest in the success of the project; they've got "skin in the game."