People Looking For Community Are Drawn To Colorado Cohousing

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PHOTO: Aria Cohousing development Artist Rendition
An artist rendition of the Aria cohousing community in North Denver. The development will be completed in March 2017.

Not all the development in metro Denver is your traditional home or apartment. New cohousing projects are also taking shape, offering people the option to live in their own homes but to share meals and socialize in a common space.

The trend reminds Marc Robson of his childhood in small town Nebraska. "All the people in our street and our neighborhood became the moms and the dads. Even the older folks were like substitute grandparents. And so we felt very safe," Robson says. "We were a community that celebrated birthdays/anniversaries. But we were also people that got together when there was tragedy that happened and surrounded people and supported them."

Robson and his husband Bob Bongiovanni will soon move into a new cohousing development in north Denver called Aria.

"In an area like Denver metro, you sometimes lose that connection. So it's building nice strong connections with all of your neighbors."

According to the Cohousing Association of The United States, there are 162 cohousing communities in the U.S., including 20 established or forming in Colorado. That makes the state home to 8 percent of all cohousing communities nationwide. Of those 20, six are forming right now, with move-in dates in 2017.

Engineer Jim Leach is president of Wonderland Hill Development Company in Boulder, which designs cohousing and sustainable housing developments. He's been in the field for more than 40 years. He spoke to Colorado Matters host Nathan Heffel about the cohousing renaissance across the state.