Cohousing communities gain popularity, including here in Nashville

Photo: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Cohousing communities are gaining popularity across the country, including right here in Music City.

Diana Sullivan gave News 2 a tour of her cohousing development located in Germantown.

She has lived in the community for about a year-and-a-half.

Sullivan said she first learned about the concept of cohousing while attending a conference in Boulder, Colorado, in 2010.

“It is an intentional community. We decided we wanted to have a community that was structured in a very high functioning way because research shows that these communities are very healthy and very thriving,” Sullivan explained.

In Germantown’s cohousing community, everyone buys their own home, but they share common spaces.

There is a playroom for children, a kitchen to enjoy meals together and extra rooms that the homeowners in the community can reserve for visiting family and friends.

“We have community dinners a couple of times a week. A couple of households will become a cook team, will set our menu, buy our food and then host the dinner, “said Sullivan.

By sharing meals the group is able to cut costs.

“They are $5 or $6 a meal, and it is incredible food,” said Sullivan.

Dot Dobbins also lives in the community. She said after her husband passed away in 2008 she began researching different living arrangements because she did not want to be alone.

Dobbins met Sullivan and decided she wanted to be part of the community. Dobbins told News 2 her grandchildren love where she lives and that they enjoy visiting her and playing in the courtyard.

“Last spring and summer we had butterflies all over. It was great, it was lovely,” Dobbins recalled.

When this community started there were 15 families interested in living in there. Now, there are 25 families in the cohousing development.

“When you have housing that is constructed in a way that is supportive of people to reduce poverty, homelessness, reduce alcoholism and drug addiction and it’s just the housing structure and you can implement that it’s huge,” said Sullivan.

In the United States, there are about 160 cohousing developments. The one in Germantown is the first of its kind in Tennessee.

Currently, there is a lot of momentum to build more of these types of developments in Nashville.

Sullivan told News 2 there is a waiting list of about 650 people who would like to move into the Germantown community.

She said an additional list of 350 people is interested in developing these types of communities in other parts of Middle Tennessee.

The national conference on cohousing will be held in Nashville this May.