Introduction - Design to enhance community
From: Fremantle LETS (
Date: Sat, 7 Sep 1996 20:56:20 -0500

I am a new subsciber and eager to get feedback about designing to enhance
community.   Because of a bureaucratic stuff-up we need to modify our
current design.  This has brought up some concerns and differences of
opinion. I have browsed the archives but haven't yet found this thread,
although I notice that it may be addressed in an article by Rob Sandelin in
Communities, Summer '96, No.91.

The issue is the layout of the houses - 11 on 1 acre. See site plan below.
Tight, huh? To maximise solar gain in winter and for everyone to have a
private north facing courtyard we have a design with a row of attached
buildings (3 x 2 storey houses and the 2 storey common house with its wide
gallery joining the two common spaces) across the middle of the site. Houses
1,2 & 3 are attached, were 2 storey but now will be 1 storey. (Bureaucracy!)
Houses 4 & 8 are 2 storey. Equity houses (9,10,11) are 2 storey; 9 & 11 are
significantly larger and have north facing balconies. Parking is peripheral
with the exception of Hse 1 which is designed for a maximum care disabled

Some people are O.K. with the 'figure of eight' crossing via the common
house. Others feel that it creates a barrier between the equity and
non-equity portions, with the equity people not able to see into the 'main'
common space. To open up the middle means 2 things: non-equity people
sacrifice solar design and/or have to go to 2 1/2 stories. Another viewpoint
is that the owners of 9 & 11 have renegged on providing common space so that
they can have bigger houses. And I wonder, is the tribal style of an open
circle any more valid for social interaction than than other village designs?

We all agree that the common house should be centrally located. And we are
all committed to an elegant and equitable solution. A lengthy first query -
my apologies - but cohousing/community people have nothing else to do with
their time, do they? CHEESE 

Thanks for your time and any suggestions,
Warmest regards, Robyn Williams.

I am a founding member of Pinakarri Community Inc. in Perth, Western
Australia. We are celebrating our fifth anniversary.  We are an
Equity/Non-equity urban housing co-op and intentional community guided by
the cohousing model. The non-equity portion is 100% funded by the
Commonwealth Govt. for eligible (low income) people. The member-tenants will
pay rent proportionate to their income while participating in the management
of the housing.  The equity portion is on adjacent land on a separate title.
Despite the obstructive actions of the state public housing body which
administers the non-equity funding and with the support of our architect we
are inching our way through the design process. 

                                          |                   |
                                          |                   |  S
                /-----------|-------------|-|-----------------|  t
  NORTH      / House     House      House                     |  r
       /  /    three      four      five    |    H o u s e 9  |  e
    :    /                         Com.hse                    |  e
 /      /   House                <---------->       House     |  t       
       /     two                    House            ten      |

      /                              six                      | 
     /   House        House         House        H o u s e 10 |  
    /     one         eight         seven   |                 |  
   /                                                          |
                                      s t r e e t

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