Skagit Cohousing: An invitation to interaction
“When I read about cohousing, I realized it is a way for me to live into the values I have long professed,” Dan Gerhard of Skagit Cohousing says.
The group is designing a neighborhood to be built in Anacortes, and the soon-to-be neighbors look forward to living in a way that nurtures relationships, attends to the environment and supports each individual to become the best self they can be.
The impact will extend far beyond the 30 households who will live there, as each person carries new skills, growing awareness and the collective positive energy of relationship into the surrounding community and the world at large.
The physical community will be made up of 25 to 30 homes, as well as a common house where residents and visitors will share activities, meals and interests. Outdoor spaces will include gardens, play spaces and gathering areas.
What makes the space unique is that it is designed to create the kinds of interactions that form the basis of connected relationships—from chance meetings to collaborative workdays.
“We are designed to be in connection with one another,” project founder Karen Gimnig says, “yet we live in spaces that separate us and prevent us from interacting. Cohousing turns that around and brings us together. It isn’t always easy, but it is always rich and the challenges bring growth.”
One of those challenges is to help people learn about this new American dream. Cohousing is spreading quickly across the United States, and in Washington in particular, but it remains unfamiliar to many people.
“We know many people in the Northwest share our values, but they hear about cohousing and think it is a commune,” explains Shelly Parks, who works on marketing. “We’re letting people know that cohousing means having the privacy of your own home and your own kitchen, while at the same time having the opportunity for engagement right outside your door when you want it. It’s the perfect blend of independent living and supportive community.”
That message is getting out, and the group has tripled in size over the summer. They are looking for more neighbors to join in designing and building their community and a better world. This fall, Skagit Cohousing will focus on building the relationships that will be the true foundation of the community.
At the same time, the group will be working with their architect to plan the development of their scenic four-acre property in Anacortes. They are looking forward to enjoying living together in co-housing and exploring all that Anacortes has to offer—from stunning views to rich culture.
In addition to many smaller events, the group will host a founder of the cohousing movement, consultant and author Katie McCamant, to lead a Kick-Off Workshop on Sept. 29-30. Future residents will learn what to expect as they build their community from the ground up while getting to know each other better.
Go to http://www.skagitcohousing.org to learn more about the community and the workshop.