Our Flavor Of Cohousing

Cohousing is an approach to neighborhood design that significantly enhances the sense of community. Pioneered in Europe, it has spread to numerous countries, including some 300 plus built communities in the United States. On the website at Cohousing US, they explain “Cohousing communities are old-fashioned neighborhoods created with a little ingenuity. They bring together the value of private homes with the benefits of more sustainable living. That means common facilities and good connections with neighbors. All in all, they stand as innovative answers to today's environmental and social problems.”

This is" Community by design". The residents themselves design the way they live together, the way they make decisions, the guidelines they follow, and the way they will manage themselves.

There are a handful of characteristics that typically differentiate cohousing from other neighborhoods. Some we are applying liberally to our village and others we plan to minimize. In general, we plan to maximize the physical (dwellings and common facilities) design and social benefits, while minimizing the administrative and maintenance requirements. Our development team is applying its extensive experience with designing and living in cohousing to maximize the benefits for the residents of Rancho La Salud Village.

We are carefully planning the physical layout and orientation of the buildings (the site plan) to encourage a sense of community. For example, the private residences will be clustered on the site, leaving more shared open space. Most dwellings will face each other across a pedestrian street or courtyard, with cars parked on the periphery.

Common facilities are designed for daily use, are an integral part of the community, and are always supplemental to the private residences. Our common house will include a common kitchen, dining area, sitting area, laundry, exercise room, and two guest rooms. There is additional property held in common for a community garden, a warm water exercise pool, a jacuzzi, walkways and a parking area. We have also planned a conference center where talks, lectures and classes will be offered to residents and others outside the community. Many of the talks will be free. The residents may use the conference center when not scheduled otherwise.

The village is similar to other Cohousing projects in that the residents will plan the goals and operations of the community together. They can have meals together, work together, have planned social activities together while improving the village. Unlike typical cohousing, we intend to reduce the amount of participation required in community management and maintenance. Residents are encouraged, but not required to get involved in functions of interest, such as the preparation of common meals, meeting to solve problems, or developing policies for the community.  But the majority of physical labor will be done by others. Labor is inexpensive in Mexico, and the physical work need not be done by the residents. This benefits the Mexicans by providing many jobs for them while freeing up more time for the residents.