Lisa Leslie: Building a Cohousing Community

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This week’s Bottom-Up Revolution podcast guest is Lisa Leslie, who helped lead an effort to create a cohousing community with 11 families in Silverton, Oregon. Lisa and her husband went from living with two other families (including Strong Towns Content Manager, John Pattison’s family) in a cooperative house, to dreaming of building a full-fledged cohousing community, to seeing that dream come to fruition this past year.

Cohousing is a term that really applies to the way most humans live around the world today and throughout history: it’s living with extended family and friends in close proximity, rather than having individuals and single households all occupying private, separate dwelling places. In Lisa’s case, the cohousing community she helped found, Evans Oaks, is made up of several small homes, clustered together, with lots of shared space and a commitment to doing life together. This isn’t some socialist commune, it’s folks who want to live close to their neighbors, share some duties and expenses, and have a support system around them.

We feature Lisa’s story today because it’s a wonderful example of someone envisioning a strong community and incrementally building it with her neighbors. The lessons she shares today—about patience and dedication and committing to deep engagement with one’s community—bear relevance even beyond a particular living situation. We hope it provides a fresh way to think about how we choose to live, no matter who your household or housemates are.

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