July 23, 2018 In Pursuit of Cohousing: Brian PaStarr recounts his recent visit to Washington DC.
I made a trip to Washington D.C. and spent 4 days there, partly with friends who invited me, and partly to attend a conference on Non-Violent communication.
I visited two cohousing communities.
Blueberry Hill Cohousing is a Rural/suburban community built on 7 acres, and attached to a 20 acre farm – only the farm ownership by the parents of one of the members enabled them to acquire such a parcel in Fairfax county Virginia. They built 19 single family houses on the property as well as a common house of about 2000 square feet. Many of the original residents had children who grew up there and have now moved on. Now just 12 children live there, and common meals are held once a week.
Takoma Village Cohousing is an urban cohousing community on 1.4 acres with 43 units. It is a U shape building with 3 stories, some units are flats and some are two level town-homes. Paul Schwartz gave me a tour, and at the end of the U is an outdoor room ( Paul says they don’t like to call it a patio instead they call it the Piazza) It’s just outside the big windows of the common house- makes it easy to take your coffee or snack outside when the weather is good. Despite its urban location and its property backing up to the Metro train, the grounds feel rural with window boxes on the railings.
While I was visiting, Takoma was having a community work day. I was amazed at how much fun adults and children were having as they worked together cleaning and gardening, one of the people working was a prospective member and after the work participating in a community meal
Both of these communities were built around the year 2000. Takoma has had 8-10 new families with children move in in the last 5 years.