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Why Indy Hall and Postgreen are bringing cohousing to Philadelphia

The concept of cohousing--a collaborative style of living in which a number of different families participate in each others' lives, and may even bunk underneath the same roof--certainly isn't anything new. The idea originated in Denmark, and today, in some of the more liberal corners of the U.S., cohousing is practically considered mainstream. There are websites, annual conferences, and even cross-country tours promoting the lifestyle.

And yet in a hardscrabble city like Philadelphia, cohousing is just about as edgy as it gets. So it makes sense that one of Philly's edgiest home designers, Postgreen Homes, has announced plans to build a six-unit cohousing space in Kensington. And while each of the units will have its own kitchen and living area, large common areas--including a commercial kitchen, a dining room, and a roof deck--will be shared.

Postgreen is joining forces in the venture with the team from Independents Hall, the Old City coworking space. Indy Hall co-founder Alex Hillman says that he and his business partner, Geoff DiMasi, have long talked about the idea of "reinventing some other elements of life" in the same way they reinvented their work lives after Indy Hall was opened. Those very conversations, in fact, eventually led to the idea of creating a cohousing village. But as Hillman is quick to point out, "Cohousing is more than just providing common areas for renters. The cool thing about it," he says, "is that the communities are designed by the members of the communities."

Currently, Hillman and his team are searching hard for those members, as a fairly steep amount of money needs to be raised by June in order to secure the preferred plot of land. To learn more about joining the community, visit village.indyhall.org.

Source: Alex Hillman, Independents Hall
Writer: Dan Eldridge

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