News / USA

    Washington Homeowners Live in Modern Village

    Takoma Village residents promote community living

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Faiza Elmasry

    The neighborhood in northwest Washington D.C. looks like a typical American townhouse development, but Takoma Village Cohousing is anything but ordinary.

    The privately-owned units cluster around a shared open space, and the 80 or so residents share a common building with a kids’ playroom, study room, laundry, kitchen and  huge living area, and they have meals together there several times a week.

    Modern village

    It's all part of an intentional community, similar to an old-fashioned village, where everyone knows everyone else.

    “What I like most is I know all my neighbors. It’s just like a family,” says Sharon Villines, one of the first residents to move into Takoma Village Cohousing when it opened in 2000. “There is a Monday night group that consists of 30, 40 people. It varies. Two or three people would cook each week and serve other people. We have lots of pot-lucks where people bring things. That works very well.”

    This community - a child-friendly, multi-generational, ethnically diverse and self-managed neighborhood - is one of more than 150 cohousing communities across the United States.

    “For me the most important advantage for cohousing is diversity," says Abe Hussein. He and his wife left a house in upstate New York, with four bedrooms and an indoor swimming pool, to move to Takoma Village six years ago.

    “One good thing about cohousing is it’s also a great place for raising kids. They don’t have any strangers because they see their neighbors every day or every week,” he says.

    Co-housing concept

    The concept of cohousing began in Denmark and was brought to the United States by architects Charles Durrett and Kathryn McCamant.

    “My husband and I were young architects studying in Denmark when we came across this idea. It really intrigued us both on a personal and a professional level,” McCamant says.

    They wrote about it in a 1988 book, called "Cohousing." They recently published a second book, "Creating Cohousing."

    “It’s the oldest idea about how people lived together. I think what we did was sort of take the Danish model and adapt it to an American model, to our crazy, modern 21st century lives,” McCamant says.

    One of the most distinctive aspects of cohousing, says Ann Zabaldo - who is very involved in running the community - is how neighbors take care of Takoma Village themselves.

    “We have a group of about four or five people, who - as part of what we call work share, or their part of the contribution to the community - is every two weeks, they clean the common house. We have a specific person who cleans the bathrooms and in between, people are expected pick up after themselves, when they use the common house.”

    Residents run the community by consensus, and openly discuss problems they see.

    “We don’t have a children’s council, for example, that makes rules and talks about how children will or will not behave in the community,” Villines says.

    Hussein adds, "One of the areas I have a lot of troubles with is work share. The assumption here is that everyone will do some work, and most of the people do, but there are a few people who don’t.”

    Eco-friendly


    Cohousing, says architect McCamant, is an efficient, economical and environmentally-sound way to live.

    “We have chosen to live in smaller houses with more community facilities and very energy efficient houses; we live more sustainably. We use less of the Earth resources, less energy and drive less.”

    Cohousing is also about creating a better quality of life.

    “It’s hard to talk with your neighbors when you don’t know them," says McCamant. "But by building that sense of trust, by working with them in the gardens, or with some kids’ projects or we need to repaint this building, just really simple day to day things, you begin to build that trust and then you can work through problems as they come up.”

    Those interactions help make every cohousing neighborhood different, as neighbors shape life inside their community through their initiative, imagination and participation.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora