Swan’s Market Cohousing

Oakland, California, United States

  • Last updated: July 11, 2017 (2 seconds ago)
  • Listing created on: October 8, 2004

Mission Statement

Urban Cohousing

Community Description

Swan’s Market Cohousing is an urban co-housing community with 20 units, located in the preserved and retrofitted 1917 Swan’s Market building in the historic Old Oakland neighborhood. It is North America’s 50th Cohousing community, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is an award-winning innovative mixed-used historic-preservation project, restoring an abandoned old market building.

In addition to our Cohousing community, Swan’s Market includes affordable rental apartments, retail stores, restaurants, professional offices, public courtyard and is the former home of the Museum of Children’s Art.

All the traditional components of Cohousing are active here, including common meals 3x/week, monthly work parties, and neighbors helping neighbors. Participation and engagement in the community is high, with residents sharing food from our community garden, tools, time, friendship, resources, and skills. Located in the heart of thriving Old Oakland, Swan’s Market Cohousing is 2 blocks from BART, 15 minutes from downtown San Francisco or downtown Berkeley by BART, has a Walkability Score of 98/100 and just about every service you can imagine within a few blocks, including the Farmers Market on Washington & 9th Streets each Friday. Though urban, our outdoor space – “Swan’s Way” – is generously planted with fruit trees, vegetables, and artful patio gardens. Our outdoor table is a community gathering spot.

Community amenities include a 3,500 square foot common house with large kitchen and dining area, kids’ play room, exercise room, laundry, workshop, community garden, guest room, large patio for dining/entertaining.  We value our three community meals a week and residents commit to participating in cooking rotations, as well as additional tasks necessary to support the maintenance and self-management of our community.

  • Status: Established (At least 4+ adults, 2+ years)
  • Started Planning: 1995
  • Start Living Together: 2000
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Open to new Members: Not currently, but there is a list or possibly in the future
  • Please read the details in Membership below before contacting this community. Send Message
  • Website address: http://www.swansway.com/
  • Community Address:
    [Not yet entered]
    Oakland, California, 94607
    United States
  • Location

    Oakland, California, United States”]


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


  • Status: We have land we have developed on
  • Area: 0.3 acres
  • Current Number of Residences: 20
  • Housing Provided: Purchase
  • Land owned by: The Community
  • Additional Comments:

    Mostly air rights in historic market

    Condomium structure

    Units and common house within existing historic structure


    includes dining room, kitchen, sitting area, kid’s room, guestroom, bathrooms, workshop, laundry room, exercise room, storage, central heating and hot water systems.


  • Adult Members: 30
  • Child Members: 5
  • Percent Women: 61-70%
  • Percent Men: 31-40%
  • Percent Transgender: 0%
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Visitor Process:

    If you are interested in a tour of our community, we would be glad to show you around and tell you about this unique project. We have a small guest room in our common house which we reserve for our friends and family, and for residents of other Cohousing communities. Guests are asked for a small donation. —– Please click the “Email This Community” button above to communicate with us and one of our hosts will help coordinate your visit.

  • Membership Process:

    Through resale


  • Decision Making: Consensus (everyone agrees)
  • Identified Leader: No
  • Leadership Core Group: No


  • Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: Yes
  • Shared Income: None
  • Required Labor Contribution per Week: 0
  • Additional Comments:

    common meal preparation, regular work days, ongoing maintenance tasks and and committee meetings.

    unit purchase prices $300k and up; rarely available

    Homeowners dues $240-$370/mo.

Sustainability Practices

  • Energy Infrastructure: We use both systems.
  • Energy sources: Solar
  • Current food produced: Up to 25%
  • Food produced locally: From 50-75%


  • Common Facilities: Common House, Garden(s), Vehicle Share, Workshop, Swingsets & play areas, Gym or sports area, Internet
  • Internet Available: Yes, both the community and individuals provide it
  • Internet Fast?: Yes, it’s fine.
  • Cell Phone Service: Good for most people.
  • Shared meals: 2-5 times per week
  • Dietary Practice: Omnivorous (plants and animals), Local (food sourced within 150 miles), Organic (no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers), GMO Free (only non-genetically modified organisms), Mostly Vegetarian, Vegan Only (plants only, no animal products) – Please check this only if you are 100% Vegan., Kosher, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free
  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: No – people may eat however they wish.
  • Special Diets OK: Sometimes
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Tobacco Use: No, this community does not permit tobacco use.
  • Additional Diet Comments:

    All meals include vegetarian option.

    No smoking in public areas of property, including outdoors, because of proximity to unit windows.

  • Common Spiritual Practice(s): Ecumenical (accepts all religions or spiritual practices), Eclectic (integrates multiple religious or spiritual beliefs), Buddhist, Jewish, Unitarian Universalist
  • Education Style(s): Public Schooling, Up to each family or individual

Additional Comments

the most urban Cohousing community in America; a block from major subway hub; 12 minutes from downtown SF

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Community Network or Organization Affiliations