Re: Converting existing housing to Cohousing
From: jmetzler (
Date: Tue, 3 May 94 13:00 CDT
I think the idea of converting existing city blocks to CoHousing is a great
one, not only as a way to build a community incrementally, but also as a way
to strengthen cities.  I've seen a couple of local groups fail to actually
build because they have discovered that both the cost of converting most
non-residential buildings to housing, and of building new structures is too
expensive for them.  Cities should be rushing to support the concept since it
should be possible to get enough critical mass to add stability to, and even
turn-around neighborhoods.
Minneapolis has been pretty good about vacating alleys for development.  You
might also look to the Dutch concept of the "Woonerf" as a designed place
which allows both people and cars to coexist safely.  If you needed to retain
the alley, the concepts could be used to t
reat it more as a pedestrian domainxx where automobiles were clearly visitors
needing to be on their best behavior.  Even if you can vacate the alley you
still have to deal with the autos and you can use it as a model of a place
primarily for pedestrians which can also accomodate some autos.
Our architectual office has used the concept on the design of a new housing
project (not CoHousing).  Anyone interested can find the design in the
article "Density Enhanced by a Clever Residential Pattern" from the book
"Common Walls, Private Houses" by Duo Dickinson.  If you can't find the
article I'm willing to mail and fax out copies as long as I receive only a
managable number of requests.  Please E-mail me directly.
jmetzler [at]

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