Re: Cohousing Rentals
From: Dan Everett (
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 93 14:04 CDT
Hi vonnie,

        We have a local architecture prof who is interested
in nonstandard housing working on a design for about
16 units on a 6-acre plot at the outskirts of town.  My wife 
and I have saved up enough $$$ to buy the land outright.  We
will try to sell enough shares to pay for improvements, such
as the community house, roads, utilities, etc.  But if this
fails, we can still build two houses on the land without any
zoning changes (though we will build the two houses on spots
marked by the cohousing plan, in case we get more members later).

        Our initial group of about 12 families went through 
several months of meetings before splitting into two 
subcollections.  The majority of folks wanted a country-living
"tribal village" setup on some large plot 20+ miles out of town,
with each family on its own 5+ acres and little or no formal
community structure, no community house, etc.  Those folks are
in loose contact with each other (and the rest of us -- we still
consider ourselves a cohousing family).  I expect that at some
point they will find their perfect piece of land and lots of
them will move out to it.

        My wife and I and one or two other couples are the
city-cousin branch of our extended cohousing family...our
vision is much more structured (condominium form of ownership,
corporate governance with consensus decisionmaking when
possible) and the houses are clustered closer together.  For me
the main design features are:

        1. smaller family dwellings, with common facilities in
            the community house

        2. roads only to parking lots on the perimiter, with 
            pedestrian traffic (and appropriate handicapped
            vehicles) within the community proper; underground
            utilities and no bright streetlights;

        3. "soft" boundaries between public and private spaces,
            with a design encouraging residents to hang out

        4.  strong environmental design focus, e.g. energy
            efficiency, some solar design, composting.

        Although we are more urbanized, we strongly support the
"tribal village" idea, with more community responsibility for
childrearing a special focus.

        The slow process of working this out (we are all too busy)
has been frustrating at times, but I suspect that the pace and
level of excitement will rise dramatically after we have actually
got our hands on the property.

        Best wishes to all the cohousing types out in Netland,

                        Dan Everett

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