|Why not?||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Jerry Callen (jcallenThink.COM)|
|Date: Fri, 12 Nov 93 16:38 CST|
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 93 16:11 CST From: Trey Wedge <trey [at] hpperf1.cup.hp.com> My <naive> impression was that the attraction of co-housing is economy. If the only attraction is community, why aren't people doing the same kind of community planning in conventional housing? There is nothing stopping people from building a neighborhood in the same way that they build a cohousing community, and they would have none of the disadvantages. For that matter, what are the advantages of cohousing that are unavailable in conventional housing? Um. It's hard to summarize in a few paragraphs, the thing to do is read "Cohousing: An innovative approach to housing ourselves" by McCamant and Durrett. There are serious obstacles to building cohousing as conventional housing; a few are: - Zoning: cohousing wants to be more tightly clustered than many zoning codes will allow. (This is a ROYAL pain here in eastern Massachusetts.) - Keeping cars out: banks and conventional developers are very leary of building housing that doesn't have attached parking. (They're concerned about the resale value.) - How do you finance common facilities? How do you know what common facilities to build if you don't have the group of buyers lined up first? My impressions of the economies in cohousing are: 1. No developer profit. True, if the cohousing group doesn't use a developer. Some do, some don't. And unless the group has a lot of in-group expertise (such as a Chris Hanson), you STILL need some sort of project management, which isn't free. 2. Common use items shared instead of duplicated. 3. Common areas shared amoung a larger number of people reducing the per person cost. 4. Resources analyzed for community use more carefully. These three are variations on a theme, no? They are true, but in the cost models our group ran, they just don't add up to a lot in terms of cost to build. They may represent substantial savings in operating costs, though. 5. Any others? If the group elects to build a limited number of unit types, there can be an economy of scale because the builder is building many copies of essentially the same unit, if the community is large enough. And if the group is willing/able to build So, if there is no economy in this approach, again, why do it? Becuse it's a radically different lifestyle. I've never lived in a neighborhood that was anywhere nearly as close-knit as cohousing. It represents a form of community somewhere in-between a regular neighborhood and group houses. Having lived in both (and a lot of variations), cohousing looks about right for me. -- Jerry Callen
- Re: A cohousing consultant and workshop, (continued)
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