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An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988

Models for possible cohousing interest in Placitas

Cohousing: a new model for Placitas?

—Joyce Thompson, Placitas Cohousing Exploratory Group

Do you love living in Placitas?

Do you want to stay here “forever?” However, is your home getting too big for you? Where can you move in Placitas so that living will be easier, but you’ll still be among friends and in the area you love?

Cohousing may be the answer. An idea that originated in Denmark and was brought to the US in the 1980s, there are now around two hundred cohousing communities scattered across the country, including three in Santa Fe and one in Taos. Cohousing residents are consciously committed to living in community, each with their own private home, yet sharing in common spaces. These communities are designed to create an old-fashioned sense of neighborhood, with 15 or more homes, usually surrounding a common plaza, often with front porches where residents can enjoy casual greetings with neighbors.

Unique to the cohousing concept is the sense of ownership and partnership of the residents in the community. Before building, residents participate in the design of the community so that it meets their needs. The layout of the community and the orientation of the buildings encourage a sense of connectedness, rather than isolation.

While most of the cohousing communities in the US are intergenerational, recently a number of senior communities have been developed. Focusing on the special interests and needs of seniors who are active and independent, but often isolated, these communities provide peer companionship in a comfortable and stimulating environment.

Does this sound like a viable alternative for a new housing concept here in Placitas? The “Placitas Cohousing Exploratory Group” is excited about creating such a community. They are visiting other cohousing communities, looking at potential sites, and talking with Placitas residents who might be interested. A public meeting will be held at the Placitas Library on July 20, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., where further information will be available, and a resident of Sand River Cohousing in Santa Fe will speak. For further information, contact Joyce Thompson at or 404- 8553.

Signpost cartoon c. Belknap

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