Bofællesskab, Part 1

Posted on February 16, 2009 by

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Nevada City bofællesskab

Nevada City bofællesskab

I’ve been studying community styles to learn how to build my green hill. The one that has impressed me the most is called bofællesskab (but don’t ask me how to pronounce it).

Bofællesskab is a Danish word that translates to “living community”. Bofællesskab are structured like condominiums, with individual residences as well as shared facilities, like a gym or recreation area. Each resident owns his or her own residence in the community, and homeowner’s dues are used to maintain the shared facilities.

There are two main differences between a condo complex and a bofællesskab. First, bofællesskab are designed to promote walking over driving. This means that parking lots are built at the edge of the community, and all of the residences and facilities are connected by walking paths. This keeps the community safer for children and provides more opportunities to see and talk with neighbors.

The other difference is that most bofællesskab include a central dining area where residents take turns cooking dinners for the community. This brings everyone together a few times a week, and it also frees up time in the evenings for all the families who don’t have to cook dinner that night.

The bofællesskab was originally created in Denmark by families who wanted to be able to enjoy the community they lived in. There are now a few dozen in America as well. Here they are usually called “cohousing communities” (though I think this is an unfortunate word choice, since “cohousing” sounds too countercultural). Wonderland Hill Development Co. has built several, and is a good place to look and see how they play out.  The Cohousing Association is also a good place to look for information on bofællesskab in America.

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