Prairie Hill/ Iowa city Cohousing

Iowa City, Iowa, United States

  • Last updated: May 24, 2018 (2 seconds ago)
  • Listing created on: May 24, 2018

Mission Statement

Iowa City Cohousing is committed to these values: Multigenerational membership, social and economic diversity, community and privacy,
green buildings with small carbon footprints, sustainability, shared resources, emphasis on alternative transportation and
ecological land use.

Community Description

Prairie Hill Cohousing/ Iowa City Cohousing is a community of 36 green homes on an 8-acre site within a mile of the University of Iowa and downtown Iowa City, Iowa. The first members moved into their homes, and the Common House, including four studio apartments, has been completed in May 2018. About half the homes have been spoken for, and we welcome new members of all ages. We are especially interested in welcoming families with school-age children.

Half of our site will be devoted to gardens, orchards and prairie. We will manage our property according to permaculture principles with small kitchen gardens near the homes and larger vegetable gardens and fruit trees clustered some distance from the homes. We are committed to managing stormwater on our land and have built a bioswale and detention basin to hold water on our site to keep it out of the city storm sewer which leads ultimately to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico.

The Prairie Hill homes range in size from 515-square foot studio apartments to 1600-square foot two-story, four-bedroom duplexes. Other home sizes are 800-, 950-, and 1200 square feet with one or two bedrooms. The buildings are all-electric and super-insulated, and they have been sited to accommodate solar panels on their roofs. (Our architect jokes that they can be heated with a hair dryer.) Every home has at least one bathroom, a kitchen and connections for laundry appliances.

The Common House has a large community kitchen and dining room for regular shared meals, a coffee nook, small living room, activity room, kids’ room, two guest rooms, and a laundry. An elevator and wheelchair accessible bathrooms, and close-in handicapped parking make the Common House accessible to people with mobility limitations. Many of the homes are visitable or livable by people who use wheelchairs.

Iowa City is a cosmopolitan community of 70,000 highly rated on many lists of livable communities. It is within comfortable driving distance of Chicago, Minneapolis, Omaha, and St Louis and just 20 miles from a regional airport serving several major airlines. As home to the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and International Writing Program, independent bookstores, and many notable writers and poets, Iowa City was the first UNESCO City of Literature in the United States. The University of Iowa offers Big 10 sports and many cultural events in a performing arts center, theater, and a new music facility.


  • Type(s): Cohousing (individual homes within group owned property)
  • Programs & Activities: Neighborhood, Community Housing, or Homeowner’s Association
  • Location: Suburban


  • Status: We have land we have developed on
  • Area: 8 acres
  • Current Residence Types: Single-family homes, Multi-family homes, Attached homes
  • Current Number of Residences: 18
  • Planned number of residences: 36
  • Planned Residence Types: Single-family homes, Multi-family homes, Attached homes
  • Housing Provided: Purchase
  • Land owned by: The entire community membership


  • Adult Members: 25
  • Child Members: 0
  • Non-member Residents: 0
  • Percent Women: 0%
  • Percent Men: 0%
  • Percent Transgender: 0%
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Visitor Process:

    Contact us by phone or email.

  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Membership Process:

    Applicants must attend an information meeting and a committee meetings, participate in an informal gathering or event, meet with our finance committee, qualify for a loan, submit to a criminal background check, and finally participate in a Meeting of Understanding in which current and prospective meetings discuss the applicant’s role in the community. There is a $1,000 membership fee.


  • Decision Making: Sociocracy
  • Identified Leader: No
  • Leadership Core Group: Yes
  • Additional Comments:

    Responsibility for various aspects of community life is provided by semi-autonomous sociocracy circles.


  • Join Fee: $1000
  • Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: Yes
  • Shared Income: None
  • Required Labor Contribution per Week: 0
  • Open to members with existing debt: Yes

Sustainability Practices

  • Energy Infrastructure: We are connected to the grid.
  • Food produced locally: Almost All, around 90%


  • Common Facilities: Common House, Garden(s), Workshop, Large Scale Kitchen, Internet
  • Internet Available: Yes, community provides it
  • Internet Fast?: Yes, it’s fine.
  • Cell Phone Service: Good for most people.
  • Dietary Practice: Omnivorous (plants and animals), Organic (no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers), Mostly Vegetarian
  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: No – people may eat however they wish.
  • Special Diets OK: Yes
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used often.
  • Tobacco Use: No, this community does not permit tobacco use.
  • Common Spiritual Practice(s): Not a particularly spiritual or religious community
  • Spiritual Practice Expected?: No
  • Education Style(s): Up to each family or individual
  • Healthcare Options: Up to each family or individual

Additional Comments

The sexual orientation and gender identity of members has not been solicited. Everyone is welcome. We have not provided percentages of identity groups because we do not necessarily know and our responses might be inaccurate.

Community Network or Organization Affiliations



Iowa City, Iowa, multigenerational, sustainability, permaculture, green building