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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Landscape Architecture

Degree Type

Master of Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



The cohousing movement started in the United States in the 1990’s and since then has spread to over 160 communities throughout the country. This type of community is characterized by small dwelling units, high housing density, shared facilities such as a common house, shared commons and grouped parking. These are pedestrian-oriented communities with car circulation restricted to the outskirts of the neighborhood. Cohousing settlements have the goal of promoting social interaction and sustainable living through design, programming, and shared ideals. Many design characteristics, such as house proximity, density, building height and size, the location of parking, the availability of common spaces, and size of private spaces influence social interaction in the community. However, design is not solely responsible for promoting socialization. Other variables such as programming and personal ideologies also need to be taken into consideration when analyzing social interaction within cohousing communities. With regard to sustainability, cohousing is a valid option compared to traditional housing types because it encourages resource sharing, promotes a mixed-use and mixed-income environment, and strengthens social networks. Cohousing communities can thrive in a variety of shapes, sizes and settings, and have varying degrees of outdoor spaces and availability. This study considers how outdoor spaces affect socialization behavior among residents in cohousing and aims to provide recommendations for shaping outdoor spaces in such settings. Methods include a literature review, an analysis of case studies, spatial analysis, on-site observations, informal conversations and referencing previously conducted surveys.


First Advisor

Carey Clouse

Second Advisor

Mark Hamin

Third Advisor

Aviva Galaski