As the demand for affordable housing continues to grow, so does the need for alternative housing strategies. Inclusive housing is one of the newest trends in affordable housing. It enables residents across all socioeconomic boundaries to live in a single development.

Often referred to as mixed-income housing, inclusive housing removes traditional barriers by offering units of different sizes and rent levels within the same building. Since market-rate renters are able to choose from a variety of price points and unit sizes, affordable housing advocates argue that inclusive housing allows people of all incomes to live together without segregating low-income residents or pushing them away from prime locations.

The most successful examples of inclusive housing do more than just offer different unit options; they intentionally create a sense of community among all residents, address rising concerns around equity and access, and build trust between various income groups.

Viable Housing Options

Parents with three kids

Today’s cohousing options offer a variety of ways to live alongside others. From the traditional model of detached dwellings that share amenities, to a more modern arrangement with private homes accessible by internal hallways or an internal courtyard. Cohousing offers residents access to social connections and support, as well as shared spaces for activities like cooking, billiards, or even co-working.

Neuro-Inclusive housing — also known as accessible housing or universal design — is any residence that meets the needs of people with different abilities. Neuro-inclusion is one way this can be accomplished. Humans come in all shapes and sizes, and that extends to mental abilities and quirks as well. The term neurodiversity refers to people who think differently than the majority because they have neurological differences like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Dyslexia, or other cognitive variations. This article will explore the benefits of neuro-inclusive cohousing and explain how you can take part in this first-of-its-kind intentional community.

How Neurodiversity Plays Into Cohousing

2 young men sharing a common space

Neuro-inclusive communities offer residents of all ages a chance to live alongside others with similar cognitive styles. The benefits of this lifestyle are twofold; people with different mental abilities can lead more fulfilling lives while also receiving support from others who “get” them on an emotional level. Cohousing communities are built on the belief that everyone deserves a great place to live. By creating a community where people can live in harmony, cohousing offers a chance for anyone to feel at home.

The Role of Cohousing and Neuro-inclusion in Housing Options

As defined by the International Cohousing Association, “cohousing is an integrated housing and social model that creates intentional communities designed to foster personal growth, mutual support, and ecological responsibility.” The spectrum of mental abilities falls under the umbrella of “personal growth” because it allows people to not only live independently but also find their own place within the community. In other words, neuro-inclusive cohousing allows residents with different cognitive styles to thrive without feeling ostracized or like they need to conform.

Neuro-inclusive cohousing allows residents with different cognitive styles to thrive without feeling ostracized or like they need to conform.

In addition to providing a space for self-exploration, neuro-inclusive communities offer residents with similar mental abilities an opportunity to connect with one another on an emotional level. Humans are social creatures; we all want someone who understands us and accepts us for who we are.

Without this level of support from others, those who think differently than their peers may struggle in life — even if they have jobs or families that support them otherwise. For example, someone may be able to hold down a job but still feel like they don’t belong anywhere because they don’t fit into the mainstream culture or interact with others outside their own home as much as they would like to.

Key Takeaway

Neurodiversity has come to mean more than just people who are different from the majority. The foundation of this philosophy is that all people are different, and therefore, we all have the potential to be successful. As the pace of life continues to accelerate, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for people to carve out their own space for self-expression and personal growth. This is where cohousing can be a game-changer.

Neurodiversity isn’t just about “being yourself” anymore. It’s about creating communities where people can be themselves and find their tribe. The best way to do this is by taking a page from nature. As mentioned in the previous section, community can be found in the most unlikely of places. That’s exactly what makes living among others in a neuro-inclusive cohousing community so beneficial. By connecting with others who think differently, residents have the opportunity to share their unique knowledge, strengthen their social networks, and experience life on a deeper level. These are a few benefits associated with cohousing and why it’s an option worth exploring.