Re: COHOUSING for profit
From: Hungerford, David (dghungerforducdavis.edu)
Date: Tue, 31 May 94 12:39 CDT
tGordon Weil wrote:

>Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but I thought that the way the
>Davis, CA co-housing community came into being was something very similar to 
>what Stuart describes.  And wasn't Davis one of the very first co-housing
>communities in the US?

I'll correct you.  As a Davis resident, Stuart S-C knows this was not how 
Muir Commons came into being.  That's why he was specific in his definition 
of developer-driven cohousing as complete, with people moving in not knowing 
each other.

The first meeting of the Muir Commons cohousing group followed a slide show 
by Katie and Chuck (McCamant and Durrett) in December of 1988.  By March 1989 
the core group of about 15 families (mine is one) was together planning our 
community.  What the developers provided was a site in their subdivision and 
some financial constraints.  They also provided hundreds, if not thousands, 
of personal hours on a project that broke about even.  Yes, they met (part 
of) the city's affordable housing requirements for new subdivisions, but 
there were easier and cheaper ways for them to do that.  We met for 2 1/2 
years, put in thousands of hours, designed our own homes, designed our own 
common house (with M & D as consultants), and built our community long before 
we ever moved in.  NO ONE who moved in originally had been with the group for 
less than at least 1 year.  The advantages and disadvantages of developer 
involvement are a topic I really don't want to get into, but to characterize 
Muir Commons as something that people just bought into is at best incorrect, 
and strikes me personally as insulting.  Our developers had a hell of a time 
financing the project, and if they hadn't had pretty deep pockets and just 
as deep a personal commitment to the cohousing idea, they may have never 
been able to pull it off.  I'd venture that if Muir Commons didn't exist or 
hadn't been successful, other cohousing projects may have never received 
financial backing.  Somebody had to take the first risk.

David Hungerford --- dghungerford [at] ucdavis.edu 
 
 

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