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Welcome

Iowa City Cohousing was started by a group of local folks working to create a new housing alternative in Iowa City. We are building a new neighborhood based on the "cohousing" model which started in Denmark and has now spread worldwide. There are hundreds of cohousing communities in the U.S, Canada, Australia, Sweden, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium, Austria and elsewhere. We've christened ours Prairie Hill. It's the first cohousing community in Iowa.

Where to find us

Prairie Hill is situated on 7.8 acres of land on Miller Avenue, just south of Benton Hill Park on the west side of the river. We're just a mile and a half from downtown Iowa City and within walking/biking distance to campus. We're close to a grocery store, restaurants, and city and university bus stops. Our street address is 140 Prairie Hill Lane, Iowa City.

Some background

We started meeting in 2009 to explore alternatives to traditional housing arrangements. We all shared an interest in living in a community that reflected our values. We wanted a living arrangement that would allow us to reap the benefits of community life while still retaining our privacy.

After a lot of reading and discussion, field trips, and consultation, we found that the Danish cohousing model incorporated just about everything we were looking for:

  • A multi-generational community
  • Social and economic diversity
  • Community and privacy
  • Green buildings with a small carbon footprint
  • Jointly-owned common spaces with shared resources
  • Emphasis on alternative transportation

Our plan  

The plan for Prairie Hill includes 36 eco-friendly residences clustered around a shared pedestrian-only green space within a short walk of community gardens and orchards. Each household has a private kitchen as well as access to shared facilities in the nearby "common house."

The common house is the heart of the community. It's a busy place with lots of coming and going and many chances to touch base with neighbors and friends. The first floor features a large dining room and kitchen where we share weekly meals together and folks gather for holiday celebrations, meetings, ping pong, family reunions, and other events. The living room is a cozy place to curl up with a book or watch movies or the presidential debates. There's also a playroom that's popular with kids, a laundry room, and an activity room with exercise equipment and space to work on projects.

Common house

Common house, lower entrance

On the second floor two guest rooms welcome visiting family and friends, and there is an office for community business. There are also four 515-square-foot studio apartments.

This past year, the common house has become the neighborhood polling place for our precinct. We've used the space for countless meetings, public lectures and concerts, and for a public screening of a new documentary. And we found it was the perfect venue for hosting two lively wedding receptions.

Residential buildings

In addition to the common house, our architect, John Shaw, has also designed the homes which nestle into our hillside site. There are one- and two-story duplexes, attached one-level townhomes, and what we are calling "stacked flats." The stacked flats are fourplexes with two flats on the upper level, and two on the lower level.

Three-quarters of our homes have now been sold or spoken for. All duplexes, townhomes, and studio apartments in the common house have been sold. Currently, there are homes still available in the stacked flats. Two stacked flats are under construction now, and two more will be built in the future. We hope to sell all the remaining homes in 2020.

Homes available

Stacked flat under construction

Homes in the stacked flats come in three sizes: one-bedroom homes with 670 square feet, and two-bedroom homes with either 800 or 950 square feet.

There are three units available in the stacked flats currently under constuction. See the site plan to get a sense of where these are located.

Interested? Come join us!

If cohousing sounds interesting to you, we would love to have you come for a visit. We are seeking people who share our enthusiasm for sustainable multi-generational community living. Here's a link to information on how to get involved.

View from top of hill showing stacked flat and other buildings.

View from our hilltop community garden looking down toward Miller Avenue. The red building in the foreground is one of the stacked flats. The building with the bright red roof further down the hill is the common house.