What is Cohousing?


Although the origin of the collaborative housing (cohousing) dates back to the 1960s, there are still many social stigmas regarding qWhat is Cohousing?.

Above all because this concept seeks to overcome the alignments of modern homes and many other architectural or housing parallels.

Cohousing emerged to break molds and schemes. Especially because it masterfully combines the autonomy of private and independent homeswith endless privileges anchored to the community amenities.

Unlike what many think, collaborative homes facilitate interaction, relationships and coexistence between all its members.

This not only generates stronger human ties, but also fosters a much more comfortable atmosphere of brotherhood and union.

Come with us to know what it is the Cohhousing, what are its advantages and why it is a model that has managed to overcome the attacks of time with such deep roots.


If you live in Spain, it is likely that you have asked yourself that question at least once in your life.

But you should also familiarize yourself with the concept, since it is expected that this model could gain more strength and popularity in the country in the immediate future.

In essence, the Cohousing refers to cohousing; a type of collaborative housing that challenges the compartmentalization of current homes.

The philosophy behind this housing model has profound socio-cultural implications. Partly because it tries to leave behind the apathy that some owners may experience (when living in very independent houses).

Cohousing seeks to neighbors form bondsdevelop long-term relationships of trust, and take advantage of all the benefits of living collectively.

Although this housing model is certainly not suitable or pleasant for everyone, it is undeniable that it has more and more supporters in certain locations in Europe (including Spain).


But how did this idea of ​​collaborative housing originate? His story began to be written in Copenhagen, Denmark, in the 70's.

In fact, records reveal that the first community of this type was built in 1972 and its purpose was to house about 27 families.

The success of this approach made many people begin to wonder what Cohousing. But also raised their interest on a collective scale and it did not take long to enhance its attractiveness.

From that moment on, the collaborative housing model began to be replicated at a considerable rate in other countries on the European continent.

Some called it “hippies” to the individuals who lived in those communes, but the truth is that Cohousing had no relationship with this.

From the beginning this concept has been framed in a series of very particular and differential principles.

Likewise, it has had a very clear objective since its origins: to stop conceiving life from an eminently individualistic perspective.

For what reason? With that of promote the terms of participation and collectivityand also with the purpose of overcoming the traditionalist economic system that puts the magnifying glass on individuality.


These are some of the characteristics of this model. Would you like to know what Cohousing is in a fun and simple way? Then pay attention to the following sections:

1. The spatial conception of cohousing advocates a private space with very extensive common areas.

2. The community that decides to inhabit these collaborative spaces shares a higher interest: that of radically change your lifestyle.

3. The process or development of these homes is 100% voluntary and participatory. So that individuality or taxation do not prevail.

4. The design of a Cohousing project gives priority to coexistence and mutual support. The ultimate goal is to strengthen the socialization processes.

5. The common spaces of a cohousing are designed for its inhabitants to share care and recreation activities.

6. Cohousing does not eliminate autonomy. You will live with other people, you will have neighbors and you will share spaces, but you will still have your private and independent areas.

7. Hierarchies in Cohousing have no place. On the contrary, efforts are focused on creation of participatory environments so that all members have decision-making power.



Although there are several models of collaborative housing, the predominant factor is the creation of projects by cooperatives. (Under the transfer of right of use regime).

Consequently, this type of cohousing stipulates the payment of a monthly feein exchange for acquiring the right to use the home and common areas.

However, it must be emphasized that the property is property of the cooperative. The starting point for executing a Cohousing project is to get its members to share values ​​and objectives.

These homes are private and their structure is quite basic: they have bedrooms, kitchen, living room and bathroom.

While in the common areasAlso known as community rooms, there are game rooms, television and studies, the library, workshops, gardens, laundry and even some urban gardens.

A cooperative model

So what is he Cohousing and how it works? It is a model that is based on the formation of cooperatives.

This means that the cooperative member must pay a monthly fee to acquire the right to use the home and its shared areas.

It is necessary to clarify that Cohousing does not comply with a legal form, nor to a means of participation in real estate.

The form of legal ownership that predominates throughout the community is that of the strata or condominium. (Although in some cases the cooperative/shared structure is chosen).

On the other hand, in most cases decision-making is not hierarchical, but rather by consensus.

In any case, the community must submit to the provincial rules and laws that govern strata/condominiums or cooperatives/shares.


Collaborative homes have many charms. This is not only a model that challenges social selfishness or extreme individualism, but also:

1. Encourage socialization and brings great relevance to shared community responsibilities.

2. Create a more efficient and sustainable housing model. Generally, they encourage energy savingthey take advantage of some renewable energy sources and reuse waste.

3. Encourages members to cooperate each other and the resources obtained by the same community are maximized.

4. Encourages socialization without allowing members to lose their independence or autonomy.

5. Improves quality of life of the cooperative members. Especially if they are very old and do not feel comfortable leading a solitary lifestyle.

6. The The price of a collaborative home is more affordable than that of a conventional house. In addition, common monthly expenses are shared among all members or neighbors.


Cohousing is originally from Denmark and the Netherlands. That is why it has been successfully established in those regions for years.

Currently, at least 1% of the Danish population lives in cohousing, according to a major study disclosed at the International Urban Planning Research Seminar.

A large part of Danish Cohousings are located on the outskirts of cities and are characterized by having a house in the center, which is used for dining, playing or other community activities.

Generally, they are comprised of 15 or 30 buildings and adopt the so-called “village typology.”

While Swedish cohousing tends to be more urban and exhibit a more vertical architectural design.

Likewise, it should be mentioned that this collaborative housing model also began to spread to a couple of North American countries, such as the United States and Canada, in the 1980s.

Kathryn Mc Caman and Charles Durret were the architects in charge of coining the English term “Cohousing”, to refer to this peculiar residential formula.

Cohousing in Spain

Cohousing also managed to gradually expand towards northern Europe. In fact, in some countries, such as Spain, its influence has spread with great singularity.

During the last ten years, cohousing has been built in several Spanish locations. Entrepatios, in Madrid, and La Borda and Sostre Civic, in Barcelonaare just some of them.

Both projects are characterized by having a privileged architectural designsince they generate a minimal environmental impact.

In the Spanish context we must also talk about Senior Cohousing (that which is focused on individuals over 65 years of age).

There are some projects that reflect this model in Madrid, Málaga, Valladolid, Andalusia, Catalonia and Cuenca, and that are worth exploring and preserving.

This type of architectural projects are based on the principle of “triple balance”. That is, they are collaborative homes that:

  • They have a great constructive relationship with the environment.
  • They are built with people in mind.
  • They are built in relation to the economy.

Continuity and legacy

At this point it is valid to ask how this model has managed to survive for so long, both in Spain and in other regions of the world.

Some consider that the expansion of Cohousing serves the paradigm shift that world society has been experiencing in recent decades.

The oldest generations long to feel active and realize that they are still part of society. Furthermore, they deeply value the social and solidarity economy, as well as mutual help, coexistence and also autonomy.

Others are convinced that the reconfiguration of individual spatial awareness has been a significant factor. Especially because the configuration of the domestic space is a primary reflection of our social reality and its inherent evolution.

Cohousing is here to stay!

Now that you know what Cohousing is, you're probably wondering if it's here to stay. And the answer is yes!

This collaborative housing model has been rooted in countries such as Denmark and Sweden for more than five decades, and in the last ten years it has also gained strength in Spain.

In fact, the State Housing Plan 2022-2025 provides for the development of new collaborative homes in this country.

Therefore, the Spanish Government has designed an aid program to encourage Cohousing and facilitate its rental processes.

According to a royal decree published in the Official State Gazette, the Government considers that these spaces could be intergenerational and that they “enable greater integration between tenants.”

If you are excited by the possibility of sharing spaces, or are contemplating the idea of ​​​​living in a community, it is likely that you will find the Cohousing model interesting and attractive.

In that case, in CMYK Architects They can advise you in depth about this type of collaborative housing.

Can contact to your team to dispel doubts and obtain more detailed and immediate information.

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