Frequently Asked Questions

What is Cohousing?

Cohousing communities are intentional, collaborative neighborhoods that enhance private homes with extensive common facilities to create strong and resilient communities. Cohousing nationwide is predicted to expand rapidly in the next few decades as individuals and families seek to live more sustainably, and changing demographics encourage innovative ways to address the roles traditionally played by extended families. More than 165 cohousing communities are established throughout the U.S., with 140 in formation. Here in Durham and Chapel Hill, we enjoy six cohousing communities, with two more forming.  

Why do we choose to live in Durham Central Park Cohousing?

Our members enjoy a downsized, community-oriented and environmentally-friendly lifestyle. We’re happier, healthier, longer-living people with daily social interactions and connections.   Energy costs are reduced with efficient building systems, shared resources, and sustainable approaches to living. We find joy in playing together, sharing milestones, and collaboratively caring for our home. We care for and provide mutual support for each other, while valuing individual privacy.

What are shared spaces within Durham Central Park Cohousing?

In addition to our fully furnished condos, shared spaces include a garage (one parking space per condo), community kitchen and dining room, living room, outdoor terraces and gardens, guest suites, media and project rooms, a solarium, and a woodworking shop. Our wide hallways serve as gathering spaces, libraries, and art displays.

What is the legal structure and what are monthly dues?

Legally, Durham Central Park Cohousing is a Condo Association. We contribute monthly Condo Association dues that cover utilities, wifi, maintenance, reserve fund, and discretionary funds for community life activities, common space cleaning, and landscaping. We are proud of our healthy reserve fund, and sustainability measures to keep costs low and our carbon footprint down, such as aggregated utility costs, and a solar water heater.

What's it like to live in Durham Central Park Cohousing?

We offer a feeling of security, a culture of caring and sharing, and an environment of playfulness and synergy. Neighbors gather on our outdoor terraces or front porch for “happy hour” conversations, and we enjoy pop-up dinners using our backyard grills and sharing meals each Sunday in our dining room. Living in Durham’s vibrant urban environment, we walk to films, plays, exercise clubs, restaurants and the Farmer’s Market. We enjoy movie nights, community work days, holiday parties, game nights, house concerts, spontaneous gatherings, book talks, and more.

What's expected of me as a member?

Members are expected to (1) help maintain our common facilities through oversight and occasional work days as members are able; and (2) engage in shared governance through service on task circles that align with individual skills and interests and through attendance at monthly meetings that guide our community life.

How does the community work together?

The community's work is accomplished through teams. Members are encouraged to participate in task circles for which they have affinity or expertise, such as landscaping, community life, facilities, or community meals. We care for our building ourselves or contract services out. Self-management of our facilities and activities empowers us, builds our community, and saves us money.

How does the community make decisions?

Active participation in decision making is part of life at Durham Cohousing. We make community decisions using consensus, which means that people with differing opinions come together to create workable solutions. While this can be a challenging process, decisions we make in this way are strong and long-lasting.

What are Community Meals?

Each Sunday night, our community gathers for a potluck, or a team-cooked meal. We also enjoy pop up meals, such as during snow days, or to celebrate milestones. Members who enjoy cooking participate in planning meals.

What about privacy?

We place a high value on privacy. Our members balance privacy and community by choosing their own level of engagement. Having our own homes is important to us.