Pioneer Valley Cohousing, Amherst, Massachusetts, from the series "Sweet Earth: Experimental Utopias in America"
United States (Artist's nationality)
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Cohousing is a concept that originated in Denmark and came to the US in the late 1980s. The Communities Directory describes it as an attempt to bridge the gap between two concepts: home as a place of privacy and autonomy, and home as a place rooted in a web of relationships in a community. Cohousing has also been described as a cross between a commune and a condominium. Members own their own homes, earn and keep their own incomes, and do not have a shared community economy.
In the planning of a typical cohousing community, would-be residents are involved in the design of the site and structures. Cars are almost always kept on the periphery, and the design encourages as much human interaction as possible. The community is anchored by a common house—in many cohousing communities the common house is seen from the front door of each home so that it becomes part of a personal sense of space. Cohousing communities emphasize resident self-management and participation in the maintenance of the community.
Pioneer Valley began in 1989 with an advertisement in a local newspaper seeking families and individuals interested in building a cohousing community. After five years of planning and building, eighty-four members moved into their homes.
The forty-five-hundred square-foot common house seen in this photograph beyond the community garden has a kitchen, a dining room large enough for all residents to share common meals, a living room, a small meeting room, a library, a children’s room and two guest rooms. There is also a laundry room, an exercise room, a root cellar, a refrigerator for milk and eggs from the community’s common cow and chickens, a sauna and some storage space.
From the portfolio, Sweet Earth: Experimental Utopias in America, 1982–2005
Image: 26.5 × 33.2 cm (10 7/16 × 13 1/8 in.); Paper: 27.9 × 35.5 cm (11 × 14 in.)
Gift of Ralph and Nancy Segall
Extended information about this artwork
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