Susan and Alexander
Why Co-Housing Works for Us
In my adult life I spent many years moving from place to place. In a span of 17 years I lived in 12 different cities. Each place brought a different set of memories as each was different in its own way. A few were small towns with only a couple hundred people and others were large cities with well over 5 million people. But as I reflect on what each place means to me, it comes back to the people that I knew in each of them. If I am to remember my former homes, the stories are not about furniture placements or the view from certain windows, but rather about who lived next door, down the street or below me, and about the impromptu garden parties as everyone gathered outside to eat, or about the colorful characters that I would meet on the street. That is what I want my son to remember about his home.
About 4 years ago I asked my son if he could live anywhere, where would that be and in his insightful 4 year old wisdom he said Sesame Street. When prodding for further details his explanations were sweet and simple, that everybody on the street knows each other, and that it is easy to find someone to play with, and if you need something, someone is always there to help out. It was shortly after that we moved to Edmonton to make this our permanent home.
My individual family unit is small as I have only one child, but our extended family has grown through co-housing. My son speaks of the families that we have met through co-housing as his own family. In addition to having others to reach out to for when we are in need (beyond just needing to borrow things) we have been able to give back so much more. I believe that through co-housing one should be able to reduce their environmental footprint and be able to make intentional living decisions which are strong benefits. But for me and my son, it is the emotional impact that we will have on each other as neighbours that truly draws us to co-housing. I think Mister Rogers always said it best with “Won’t you be my neighbour”