Re: Urban cohousing
From: Fred H. Olson WB0YQM (
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 94 09:55:43 CST
On Tue, 22 Feb 94 13:07 CST, 
Dave Hurst  <cohousing-l [at]> wrote:

>  It seems that many of the cohousing projects I've seen described
>involve going out into ``undeveloped'' land in some suburban area and
>building new structures. 

   Like I sometimes say, the easiest way to do cohousing is to build
it in a cornfield somewhere.  But I don't want to live in a cornfield.
But that doesn't mean that there aren't folks who want to live in
a suburban, exurban, or rural area.  And I wish them luck.
But not for me.

>I love the city and all that it offers.  

Me too.  But indeed cohousing in the city is fraught with site
related hurdles. 

    The first cohousing group I became involved with (Seward)
has proposed building new construction on a near ideal four acre former
truck depot site on the edge of a strong neighborhood two miles from
downtown Minneapolis and not far from the University of Minnesota.  I
won't go into detail (I've subjected the list too much detail in the
past - see the list's archives.)

   However soil and water contamination make that site difficult.  I
claim there is still a small possibility that cohousing can be built on
the site.  The city has recently acquired the site and will be clearing,
dealing with some of the contamination and preparing the site for
commercial or light industrial reuse . After this preparation work we
hope the site may become available for cohousing after all.  The Seward
group is not meeting regularly now but will hopefully be ready if the
site becomes available.

   Several of the households from the Seward Cohousing Group have joined
the Andersen Lane Cohousing Group (ALCG).  Since Oct of '93, 5
households have been meeting to plan the conversion of a 1.5 acre square
block of existing housing in a low income area of Minneapolis to
cohousing.  The site has 22 units in 12 buildings (1 to 4 units per
building) and an alley thru the middle. The changes would include
closing the alley to traffic, removing the garages and fences to make
common space, providing alternate peripheral parking and converting or
building common facilities.

Regarding MOCOCO and the city.

   I consider myself a good friend of MOCOCO but I prefer a more central
site (among other things I ride a bicycle for transportation).

    The urban problems of major American cities lag in development by
about 20 years in Minneapolis for a variety of reasons but in time they
may get here.  In recognition of this government policy changes to head
them off are being discussed. One hopeful sign in this direction is the
recognition that the city (cities - remember St Paul) has much in common
with the inner ring suburbs that is relevant to these problems which do
not respect political boundaries.  Indeed a coalition of the cities and
inner ring suburbs have been fairly receptive to some of the policies
alluded to above.

   MOCOCO is just inside one of these inner suburbs.  It's in an area
similar in some ways to Arlington, MA that Laura Bagnall spoke of tho
less dense -- the Twin Cities are generally less dense than the Boston
area.  I'm more familiar with neighboring Waltham but last summer I
think it was in Arlington (or maybe Belmont) that we took our 4 year old
to a wading pool during our vacation to the East Coast heat wave.  It
impressed me as having the mixed blessings of what I think of as an
urban area - I liked it.

But Judy you forgot to mention that MOCOCO is a short bike ride away
from three lakes in Minneapolis' Chain of Lakes.
Fred H. Olson   fholson [at]     Sysop of COHOUSING-L mailing list
1221 Russell Av N; Minneapolis, MN 55411        voice: (612) 588-9532
WB0YQM  146.64 MHz with DTMF Selcall: 233 ;        FAX by arrangement

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