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Housing

Can Boomers Make Cohousing Mainstream?

Popular in northern Europe, cohousing is still a fringe option in the U.S. But the number of cohousing communities here is set to climb, thanks to Baby Boomers.
Residents chat on the porch of a home in Mosaic Commons, a cohousing community in Berlin, Massachusetts.
Residents chat on the porch of a home in Mosaic Commons, a cohousing community in Berlin, Massachusetts.Tim Pierce/Flickr

When architects Kathryn McCamant and Charles Durrett made their first pilgrimage to Denmark in the early 1980s, they were out to learn whatever they could. What they brought back would earn them a reputation as the mother and father of cohousing in the U.S.

They visited communities like Copenhagen's Trudeslund (where they would later live), noting the common spaces that linked small clusters of private residences with public life. Kids ran along car-free paths; families gathered around meals in a common house or stayed in their private homes as they pleased.