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‘Co-housing’ redefining life at home

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DENVER -- Deborah Cledending has lived on her own for more than 30 years. But she recently decided she wantes to live the rest of her golden years a little different.

"I'm at a place in my life where I really want to be connected to community," she said.

Cledending is not alone. People across the country are beginning to look for more than just a home -- they are looking for a community and finding their ideal scenario in co-housing.

"I think it came here because people are feeling a little isolated," said Susan Powers, president of Urban Ventures.

She is one of the many people behind Denver's newest co-housing project called Aria. Unlike traditional housing, a co-housing property includes several shared spaces like a garden for everyone to use, a dining space for shared meals with neighbors and a sunroom.

The new project sits at a former covenant in northwest Denver. When it completed, there will be 28 apartments where families of all ages, size and class will call home.

"It's an interesting project," Powers said. "There aren't 17-acre in fill sites.  You can't find this property in the middle of a city so close to downtown."

Clednening is looking forward to the day she can move in.

"The plans are in place. I can foresee what the building is going to look like. I know where my unit is," she said.

But she is also enjoying the building process. In most co-housing projects, all members of the community get a say in the design of space.

Powers said it's not a new concept but one she is not surprised is catching on.

"It really is trying to go back to where many of us grew up, where the neighborhoods were very close knit and closer to relatives," she said. "So maybe we are creating extended families here."

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