Glossary of terms
Definitions of frequently used terms.  These terms are not separate categories, and in many cases they overlap or describe different aspects of communities.  

Intentional Communities – the broadest term that encompasses a wide range of groups who intend to live together as a community.  There are many ways people describe their intentional communities: cohousing groups, ecovillages, community networks, support organizations, as well as people seeking a home in community.  A planned residential community designed from the start to have a high degree of social cohesion and teamwork. (

Cohousing – a community planned with private homes and common use buildings.  Often includes smaller size homes, environmentally friendly design, and pedestrian friendly layouts. Often has shared areas like yards, gardens, community kitchen, workshops, and more. (

Co-living – Multi-bedroom houses leased by groups of people. Residents share the desire to live cooperatively, and share spaces including kitchens, living areas, garages, and yards.  Also called “co-householding.” (

Collaborative housing – architecture/design concept for multi-unit buildings that aim for such things as:  walkable, social, creative, diverse, and minimize the need for cars. Buildings with small private units emphasize shared spaces that foster connections between residents; they are marketed to makers, artists, designers, and musicians. (

ADU – Accessory Dwelling Unit.  Term to refer to secondary houses in backyards, granny flats, converted garages, and structures like tiny homes.  ADUs are regulated by the state and cities.

Ecovillages – intentional communities whose goal is to become more socially, economically and ecologically sustainable. (

Co-operative “co-op” – a type of ownership structure.   A co-operative is an association of persons united to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations, through a jointly owned and democratically-controlled enterprise. Co-operatives are businesses owned and run by and for their members. Whether the members are the customers, employees or residents they have an equal say in what the business does and a share in the profits.  For housing, this means members own the property together, through owning shares in the co-op.  (

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