coh for whom
From: Judy (
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 93 16:40 CDT
Daniel Reitman writes:
What strikes me as the problem with cohousing -- and a large section of the
modern co-op movement -- is that we've lost sight of the social remedy aspect
of the movement.  By planning cohousing from the ground up, there's an inherent
expense that may restrict membership to those who already can afford a middle
class lifestyle.  I think we need to reconsider the self-help aspects of
Rochdale as at least part of where we want to take the movement.  It's already
problematic enough that the word "co-op" in some cities is usually prefixed
with "luxury", when we should, in my opinion, see more affordable co-ops.
As one who has been working on this and thinking about it for 3 1/2 years, now,
I both agree and disagree.  Getting a cohousing community off the ground is
tough - one week before our project rose from the ashes of losing the property
(we moved in two months later!!) I was guessing it would take another 3-5 years
to get into coHousing.  We were LUCKY! And it takes a huge amount of time and
commitment from people.  Lots of folks, both middle and lower income, blanch
when they hear about the meetings.  So, that is a big restriction.  
        And the costs of construction or rehab are high (any comments from our 
Cities groups?)  What i see is that most of the people who are attracted to
Cohousing, here, are somewhat alternative in their approach to life and income,
and don't have a lot of money.  Middle class, maybe, but not much $.  Some, of
course, have more than others. Yes,
there is the Habitat project  in Calcifornia, and a one in Sacramento with more
affordable units.  It will come.
        I think Chuck Durrett was right when I heard him say, 3 years ago, that 
key is to get some cohousing communities built and going and that that will
help get funding to make them more available to more folks.  He was arguing
against more housing experiments on low - income folks.  I think we are seeing
the beginnings of affordable cohousing now.  
        I don't know a lot about Rochdale and its self-help aspects, but I am 
reluctant to add anything more to the task of developing cohousing.  I think
the more you try to do, the more people will get burned out along the way.  But
I'd sure be interested to watch.

Judy Baxter, Monterey Cohousing Community, Twin Cities Area, Mpls/St.Paul MN
        (Mococo)                baxter%epivax [at]
Twin Cities CoHousing Network Voice Mail  930-7580

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