Retrofitting existing neigborhoods
From: Rob Sandelin (Exchange) (
Date: Thu, 19 Oct 1995 14:54:44 -0500
Doug from Fort Collins asked about transforming neighborhoods.  I think =
the first step might be to find out if anyone from the fort collins =
area,  is also interested in retro-fit cohousing, would be interested in =
buying the house you said is for sale.  That would make two of you who =
share the same idea. There is a cohousing group forming in fort collins =
and also another intentional community.  Check with them. The Rocky =
Mountain Cohousing Association in Boulder can give you some ideas as =

Once there are two of you, I would work out a vision statement about =
what you want to create.  Then use the same marketing approach as other =
forming groups (slide shows, fliers for meetings, etc.) to build a =
strong waiting list.  In the meanwhile, start hosting a weekly rotating =
potluck amoung the members of your waiting list, start trying out =
sharing childcare and other things, and build some community feeling. =20

Then as another house comes for sale, viola, you have a waiting list of =
buyers who are interested in a retrofit cohousing idea who will buy the =
house.  And so it goes.

Eventually you can have a big enough group so you can form a legal =
association to raise money to buy or rent a space you can share for =
meals, such as a garage or outbuilding, or even a remodelled addition to =
an existing home.  It doesn't have to be gold plated and huge.  We do =
community dinner for up to 30 people in a 20X25 part of a basement of a =
home at Sharingwood.  We created a kitchen with free used appliances and =
partioned off the basement for less than $500.  We have been doing =
community dinner there for a couple of years now and it works fine.

Retrofit cohousing requires the same "burning soul" energy to evangalize =
as other cohousing - somebody has to hold and promote the vision, but it =
can grow slowly, house by house over time.  Make a ten year plan and you =
will discover that in that time frame most all of the houses where you =
live will have sold at least once, giving you opportunity to create a =
cohousing group right where you live now.

If I didn't currently live at Sharingwood, this is exactly where my =
cohousing energy would be going. I am currently trying to figure out how =
to find time to promote this idea in Seattle.

Rob Sandelin

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