GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Newberry Place looks like most neighborhoods in Grand Rapids, except each home is connected. Together, 23 units make up the city's only co-housing community.
The idea was first developed in Denmark, and hundreds of small communities have taken up the concept in America, including Newberry Place.
The theory behind the community is that life is better shared. Each family who owns a home in the community agrees to shared space and resources, and communal chores. For instance, children can play in the communal space, which is made up of the each families' backyards. Other communal spaces include the community's common house.
Each week, those in the community have a shared meal together. Each person is on a different meal team, which rotates the responsibility of meal prep and clean-up.
"We’re here as an intentional community. So everyone wants to be a part of each other’s lives, as much or as little as they’re comfortable with," said Kirsten Montroy, who recently moved to Newberry with her husband and children.
"It’s great to have that community of people that are willing to lend a helping hand," said Rob Montroy, as he explained how everyone shares things like tools and some household items. The community shares an exercise room and a woodworking shop.
Newberry has been running as a co-housing community for the past 11 years. However, many aren't familiar with the concept.
"Everyone I tell about this place that is actually from here or even nearby say, 'I didn’t know this was even here,'" said Rob Montroy, Kirsten's husband. "It’s kind of a well-kept secret."
Legally, the community is classified as a condo association. Residents must pay homeowner association fees, as well as agree to the community's by-laws.