Woodlawn Dev. (Chicago) Community Housing Project
From: Fred H Olson WB0YQM (fholsonmaroon.tc.umn.edu)
Date: Tue, 7 Nov 1995 17:37:06 -0600
Levy N. Rivers  <waldo [at] ais.net>   aka
Wellington Ave Local Development Org. walso [at] ais.net 
is the author of the message below but due
to a listserv problem it was posted by the COHOUSING-L sysop (Fred).
****************  FORWARDED MESSAGE FOLLOWS *********************

        Woodlawn Development Associates Community Housing Project
        Draft of Concept 
        August 30th, 1995

Woodlawn Development Associates (WDA) seeks to build urban community from
the inside out by mobilizing the capacities of citizens of diverse
backgrounds to reinvent neighborhood life together, building a community
which is economically viable, socially nurturing, environmentally
sustainable and physically safe and attractive.  WDA works through its
programs in housing development, economic development, community
development and children and youth development,  to accomplish this goal,
utilizing bottom-up re sident planning,  active collaboration with diverse
individuals and organizations, professional project management and a
meaningful process of community empowerment.

WDA with its consultant/developer, the Wellington Avenue Local Development
Organization (WALDO), is actively engaged in a feasibility analysis of a 22
unit mixed income CoHousing community on the 6300 block of Kimbark in north
Woodlawn.  The "Community Housing Project", will be interracial,
intergenerational and interclass, with a target of 25% low-income and 25%
senior residents, structured as a land trust and composed of rental and
ownership units. 

The CoHousing Concept
Exactly what is meant by "CoHousing" varies among particular CoHousing
groups.  Central to the concept of CoHousing is 1) resident participation
in the development and life of the community and 2) shared living space,
whether that be a common dining facility, child care area, workshop,
laundry facility, recreation room, etc..  Several variations of ownership
are possible, including condo, coop, and rental.   The proposed mixed
income CoHousing development in Woodlawn is intended to address the
problems of lack of

        -       affordable and safe housing;
        -       diversity across income levels; 
        -       housing design to support "non-traditional" household
                structures, and
        -       housing design which encourages the building of "community"
                and systems of support.

Background of the Community Housing Project
Sixteen years ago the Covenantal Community of University Church (CCUC)
established a mixed income, mixed race, intentional living community
located in a 21 unit court yard building at 61st Street and Woodlawn
Avenue.  The group is committed to participating in, building and
reenforcing a sense of community within the neighborhood across racial and
economic lines.  Two years ago,  in anticipation of the development of
north central Woodlawn, a core group comprised of members from CCUC,
University Church and the Woodlawn community made a decision to be active
players in the redevelopment of north Woodlawn, to ensure the building of
community without the exclusion of current residents, particularly those
with limited incomes. The result was the formation of Woodlawn Development
Associates, a 501(c)(3) corporation, with the mission of developing
community in order to redevelop the neighborhood.

WDA and WALDO - the Partnership
WDA began working with WALDO in August of 1993, after engaging in a six
month "partnering process" between the two groups.  WALDO is a
not-for-profit organization which provides technical services to community
based groups in low income areas committed to creating jobs and building
affordable housing.  The partnering process entailed drafting a formal
agreement among the partners describing their vision(s) and respective
expectations and responsibilities.   In the course of two years of weekly
meetings, much progress has been made both in terms of  developing a sense
of trust and respect among the partners and in developing the organization,
building staff and support.

WDA - the People
WDA has a board of directors composed of community leaders and residents
from both Woodlawn and Hyde Park with proven track records of civic
leadership and management abilities.  Over half of WDA's board members
reside in Woodlawn.  Many have lived in the community for 16 or more years.
To many, the Community Housing Project offers an opportunity to seek an
affirming harmony of racial and ethnic diversity in one small part of a
working class neighborhood of urban America.  WDA focuses on people rather
than structures; it is about building community; whether that be tending a
garden, sponsoring a neighborhood Tai Chi class, presenting a seminar on
rehab, or holding a 4th of July celebration.  WDA's high aspirations bring
constant challenges for its staff and Board members, as they strive to
balance the need for patience and action, inclusiveness and efficiency,
principals and practicalities in carrying out its mission.

The Community Housing Project
WDA's Community Housing project brings together individuals and families
with varying levels of income and unites them through a common process of
building "community", physically and otherwise.  The project also builds
the skills and abilities of all those involved in the core group's process
of group building, decision-making and predevelopment.  The impetus behind
developing Mixed Income CoHousing is to strengthen connections and build
systems of support between people through the use of group process and
architectural design.  Likewise the larger community benefits from having a
stable, safe, supportive group of residents focused on the interests and
promotion of the community.  As such, the Community Housing Project is
based on the key principals of:

        1.      Participatory Process: community members are involved in
                all stages of development with final responsibility, as
                a body, for all decision making;
        2.      Intentional Neighborhood Design: the physical design
                encourages a strong sense of community, balancing
                interests of private and social life;
        3.      Extensive Common Facilities: common facilities permit and
                foster strong bonds of community interaction and support;
        4.      Residential Self-Management - residents manage the
                community themselves.

Stage of  Development
The properties envisioned for many years to be the site of the Community
Housing Project, adjacent to CCUC, were unexpectedly purchased for higher
income development, resulting in  WDA's purchase of sites a few blocks
south from this location. WDA is in the process of securing several
adjacent sites (two sites were acquired at the recent scavenger sale) near
Kimbark and 63rd Streets.  Because site acquisition is not complete at this
time and because the intent of the project is to include residents in plann
ing and development, the specific development factors listed below are
provided as one possibility for the project, based on years of discussion,
but which will be refined as additional information is obtained and the
participatory process expanded (additional details available in pro-forma):

Site of Project:
-       1.5 lots - Woodlawn, on Woodlawn near 63rd Street - City-owned 
-       3 lots adjacent to above, on Kimbark near 63rd Street - 2 in Tax
        Sale, 1 City-owned

Physical Description of Project
-       22 units, mixed ownership, rental with Land Trust -Architectural
        design, landscaping and layout will reflect Community
        Housing/CoHousing concept and encourage the building of community
        within the development and within the surrounding community
-       Mix of townhouses and multi-unit dwellings

-       Financing will be obtained through a combination of
        funding sources including: private equity (including equity for
        owned units, donations, private loans from those living
        in/working with Woodlawn community and socially responsible
        investors from in and outside the area), Banks (Avondale, Harris,
        Independence, American National, etc.,) City of Chicago (New
        Homes for Chicago).  We seek to minimize government subsidies to
        maximize flexibility in achieving goal of building a mixed
        income, race and age, cipatory community.  In addition to private
        funds, this will be accomplished by reinvesting income derived
        from sale of market-rate housing, premium paid by homeowners on
        upkeep of property  and creating a special tax district (TIF or
        sales tax).

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