Community Led Housing

A Cohousing Development Approach

Ronaye Matthew and Margaret Critchlow

Everything you need to achieve your dream of living in community.

Now is the time for community led housing. Modern ways of living can leave us feeling alone in our homes and isolated from key resources. Cohousing balances independence and privacy with collaboration and togetherness to cultivate a thriving community. In cohousing spaces, neighbors know one another, and everyone works together to build and sustain a better future.

When cohousing experts Ronaye Matthew and Margaret Critchlow realized the vast demand for their development services, they knew they had to open the door—to everyone. In this in-depth guide, Matthew and Critchlow share their decades of experience on the ground and in the field. They outline the entire development process and break it down into accessible goals and informed takeaways for anyone interested in a collaborative approach to housing.

With their expertise, you’ll be prepared to navigate financial and legal structures, to work with your local municipalities and key professionals, and to transition smoothly from the development phase to living in the community. Including a detailed appendix with case studies of past projects and more, Community Led Housing is the must-read handbook that gives everyone with dreams of creating their own community the tools they need to succeed.


“For those who yearn for a more connected future, this book is a guide for bringing the village of your dreams to life.”

“This sensible guide is the kind of community how-to book I love—stunningly clear, well organized, and easy to follow—written by two of the most skilled and experienced cohousing experts in North America. The authors’ wealth of sensible, field-tested advice will improve your chances of success immeasurably and no doubt save you money, time, and heartbreak. I can’t recommend Community Led Housing highly enough for aspiring communitarians in Canada, in the US, and in other English-speaking countries too!”

“There’s a lot written about smart cohousing design, but a book about cohousing development has been a long time coming. It stresses the importance of a can-do attitude accompanied with experienced guides. The book is a crucial point of departure—enhance it, learn from it, grow from it. I think Matthew and Critchlow’s ‘straight talk’ will help everyone make more community in the future.”


“The world needs this book! Community Led Housing delivers essential tools for those who dream of building a community where neighbors know, trust, and support one another. Ronaye Matthew helped bring my own community’s cohousing dream to life. In this powerful book, she and co-author Margaret Critchlow offer the wisdom to help others do the same.”

“Ronaye Matthew is a cohousing professional who had successfully managed eleven cohousing projects. This achievement is astounding because many others have tried and not succeeded. I believe she is the leading expert in Canada. What’s even more important is that this book holds the secrets on how she has achieved that success. This book is essential for groups considering cohousing, and more importantly, this is a great guide in helping other professionals work on cohousing developments. I am grateful that she is willing to pass along all that she has learned over the years so that others may benefit.”

“Matthew and Critchlow have crafted a much needed ‘how-to’ book for creating community-based housing. As people around the globe search for new ways of living to reduce our carbon imprint and enhance social relationships, documenting successful community-building is more important than ever.”


Ronaye Matthew is the primary consultant at Cohousing Development Consulting (CDC), an expert development management firm, where she has guided eleven cohousing projects to completion. After earning a degree in Environmental Studies from the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba, Matthew spent her early career working with diverse residential developers in Alberta and British Columbia. In 1996, she shifted gears to cohousing development and never looked back. She has lived at Cranberry Commons in British Columbia since its completion in 2001.

Margaret Critchlow spent twenty-five years as a professor of Social Anthropology at York University in Ontario. She first discovered the importance of community led housing through her field research with Vanuatu villagers in the South Pacific. A leading voice in academic cohousing discourse, Critchlow has authored and edited books on housing cooperatives, customary land tenure, colonial history, and development issues. Critchlow is now a community building facilitator at CDC and has lived at Harbourside Cohousing in British Columbia since 2016.

ISBN 978-1-77458-454-5
$39.95 CAD $29.95 USD
Published January 31, 2024
7 × 10 410 Pages
paperback, ebook