Buying your own home has long been considered the marker of individual success, but amid a surge of condominium developments in the downtown core, one Kitchener man is hoping to start a co-housing project where residents would live together and split the costs of their shared space.
"Think sort of old-style, small-town, where people know each other a little better, work together and make decisions together," Alan Parrish told CBC's The Morning Edition.
Nine years ago, Parrish and his wife moved from a co-housing community called EcoVillage in Ithaca, New York to Waterloo Region.
At EcoVillage, they owned their own 1,400 square-foot home and shared ownership of a 4,000 square-foot common house containing an industrial kitchen, laundry facilities, meeting spaces and other amenities. Their vision for Waterloo Region version would be something similar.
'Not some odd compound in the jungle'
"We had such a great experience in our old community that we've wanted ever since we moved up here… to create this sort of community," Parrish said.
People can sometimes be skeptical about the concept of co-housing, but Parrish argues the model would offer residents the chance to customize their living space in a way that home-buyers often can't.
"Instead of buying your next home from a developer that has laid out the plan for your future community before any resident has had a chance to give any input, imagine you were able to get together with like-minded people and plan your own neighbourhood community," he writes on his website.
"This is not some odd compound in the jungle somewhere where you don't drink the Kool-Aid," Parrish said. "For us, it's more about … finding a group of people who have a similar view on how they want to live their lives, run their lives and how they want to be in a community."
Parrish admits getting the project up and running could be a challenge, especially given zoning restrictions in the region.
Nevertheless, he says he hopes to see a thriving co-housing community in the region within the next couple of years.
The first step will be finding those like-minded people, something Parrish hopes to do at the project's first meet-up on Saturday.
The meeting will be held at Kitchener Public Library from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.