Compass Cohousing Perks and Benefits
By Brittany Harris
Cohousing is about building up and sustaining a diverse community of neighbours. Community building is an intentional organic process where neighbours come together to make decisions, improve the property and offer support. Community building at Compass is facilitated by our social architecture which is designed to promote and enhance interactions between neighbours. This is seen in the common properties of the courtyard, covered walkways and common house which take up a significant portion of Compass’s footprint. They are designed to generate opportunities to connect with our neighbours, such that a walk home from work or to and from the mail will take several minutes as you check in with each other. Social interactions like these are important for our mental health and well being. Getting to know and trust those you live along side will promote a sense of security and safety that is fundamental to mental wellness. There are a many perks to living in a place where you know everyone. Here are a few that we are most looking forward to:
Living with Amateur Experts. No one is good at everything, but everyone is good at something. Your neighbours each bring a skill set to the table that they are happy to offer to others, and their abilities are as diverse as the people themselves. Wouldn’t it be great if you knew someone who could lend a hand in areas where you struggle? Maybe you need to hem a new pair of pants, make a cutting board, plant a garden, debug a computer, get a birthday cake made or deal with a wasps nest. Our amateur experts will bring not only their keen minds but also the right tools for the job. Many of these tools will be easily found in the craft room, workshop, garden shed and kitchen of the common house.
Pick up a New Skill. Our amateur experts are often happiest teaching and passing on their skill set to others. No matter your age it is never too late to pick up something new. Some things we are looking forward to learning include:
- the guitar, dulcimer, drumming and photography in the music room which easily converts into a photo studio;
- knitting, scrapbooking, card making quilting, andquilling in the craft room and lounges;
- yoga and dancing in the courtyard in the summer and flex space in the winter months;
- cake decorating and brewing in the kitchen; and
- carpentry and bike repair in the workshop.
Social Clubs Galore. Part of living in community isfinding others who share your passion and interests. Cohousing is meant to support people’s creative interests and help you connect with likeminded individuals. At the heart of this lies a number of social clubs and activities that meet together in the lounges, great hall, music room, workshop and craft spaces offered by the common house. Some social activities we are looking forward to starting include: Book club, jam sessions, board game nights, parenting support group, brewers association, cinematic appreciation club, the gardening group, craft and kvetch, radical ramblers (a walking group), meal clubs, and wood worker united.
Celebrating, cooking and breaking bread together. When you walk into Compass’s Common House you step into our great room and kitchen. This is where we will celebrate holidays, wish each other happy birthday, grab a coffee together, cook up a storm and eat abundant pot luck dinners. Eating with others is a cure to loneliness; it’s an excuse to talk, to reflect on the day, to discuss recent events and to acknowledge each other’s successes. Eating alone can be alienating. Perhaps because spiritually we understand that food is meant to be shared, and acts as a unifying bond in community. Cohousing consciously creates moments to cook together, eat together and share memories together.
Caregiver support. Caring for children, or someone who is sick is difficult, stressful work. It can be made doubly difficult for those of us who live far away from our family supports. Oftentimes what you need most is a break. Someone trusted who can take on this role for a few moments, or can pick up one of the many daily tasks that fall to the wayside. In building a community and getting to know your neighbours you will develop these trustedrelationships. People who live alongside you are usually willing to step up to help out. They will take on child care when it gets to be too much, pick up groceries or make a meal when you come out of the hospital. Being stuck at home with the kids with no adults to talk to can be isolating. You are not alone in this experience and cohousing creates many opportunities to meet up with other parents to discuss parenting woes (and offer up solutions).
A sense of security and safety. Knowing that you live in a place where everyone is watching out for your family is invaluable. It creates a deep sense of safety and security that is fundamental to meeting your basic needs. If you go away for a week there is someone to watch over your place and water your plants. You can get on with your day knowing that when your child is playing in the courtyard (with your permission) that there is always an adult keeping an eye on them. There will be 60 other people around them that they can turn to for support and to intervene if needed.
Motivation to Exercise. The best way to motivate yourself to exercise is to do it with a friend! It can be hard to get yourself out the door after a long day at work, but combing it with a social activity makes it easier and more fun. Compass members are looking forward to joining in on dance and yoga classes or a walking group. Some members are also planning to donate their exercise equipment to turn our common house flex space into a state of the art gym right at your finger tips.
As you can see, the benefits of living in community are many and varied. This is what Compass Cohousing can add to your life.