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Briefing on senior cohousing project Tuesday in Northampton 

Presenter Dyan Wiley of Amherst hopes to identify people interested in creating a local senior cohousing community. She is an 18-year resident of Pioneer Valley Cohousing in Amherst and has provided training to other cohousing communities.

A similar gathering will be held Dec. 6 at the Florence Community Center at 140 Pine St.

In the cohousing model, prospective residents are involved in the design process. Cohousing communities typically have individual units with separate kitchens, but there is a common dining area where members join for several meals a week. The homes are usually smaller and energy-efficient, and the neighbors share gardens and open space.

“Cohousing is about living an enjoyable life among neighbors in a mutually supportive and productive neighborhood,” Wiley said. “It is unique for its emphasis on creating architectural as well as social design elements that build community and caring.”

Cohousing is usually less expensive than other forms of senior housing, because residents share resources and the units are small.

Wiley, who works for the Harold Grinspoon Foundation in West Springfield, is assisting Amherst architects Laura Fitch and Mary Kraus on early steps toward creating a senior cohousing community in the region.

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