|Re: Businesses inside cohousing or nearby or....||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Mmariner (Mmarineraol.com)|
|Date: Tue, 8 Oct 1996 23:38:23 -0500|
Rob S makes some solid points based on the current coho paradigm. Rob, were you assuming that the business would be space intensive like light mfg or a service company or a retail shop of some sort? Therefore the assumption is that a fairly major structure would be built on the grounds? If so, I'd agree costs and hassles would seem prohibitive and undesireable, especially if the enterprise were being started up simultaneously with financing and building the housing. (See more ideas below.) Joani, could you clarify what you meant -- that you value diversity so you wouldn't want onsite businesses? Meaning that the community could/would become too insular to where you didn't relate to diverse folks outside the community? If so, I'm not advocating that every coho member be part of the business or that there be only one business. Also, if you had a business that found it's clientele in adjacent neighborhoods it could serve to show off coho to the neighbors -- hopefully diverse at least in income level, age, sub-culture, whatever. You (Rob & Joani) asserted most cohousers just aren't interested in combining home and business together unless they already office in their home or do child care or something similar. Can we hear from some other folks? Do y'all love commuting - the couple of hours in car or bus and obviously the pollution and energy consumption? Let's twist, warp or crack the paradigm a little. [Note, I tend to think cutting edge -- afterall, I'm writing futuristic books. Yet I can readily see that attempting a collaborative business might best be considered a few years after you're moved into the residences. The coho process is so time and money intensive. But let's seed the future....] - First, break the precept that most coho groups must build new structures on virgin land. I admire the adventurous folks like those (in Arcata, CA?) who were building their cohousing behind an old truck stop They renovated part of the commercial buildings into offices or shops and built housing behind them for quieter housing, right? - How about a coho site in an existing mixed-use urban site where business structures were already intermixed with residential or where residential units were built above the business? The facilities issues could be lessened. Perhaps existing businesses could be brought into the coho plans in some small (or large) degree. - How about businesses that don't require major contiguous facility space? Several professionals with related businesses might form alliances of various sorts -- market together, network, etc? Down the road start new joint ventures, partnerships, etc., as the opportunities arise? Everybody starts with offices in their homes, knowing each other's email addresses, fax and phone numbers. Everybody has 3-way calling where you can cut in a 3rd party to any conversation. Maybe you arrange to use a room in the common house as the business conference room for some hours per week. You could present a unifed image to the outside world with the right planning. - Example: an internet provider (server on site or off) and a web site designer host all of the home businesses (hobbies, clubs, etc.) on their web site. - How about businesses that make better use of commonhouse facilities that might just be vacant during days (or nights)? A mini-retreat or conference business. Some coho sites sell meals to outsiders, right? There are miriad possibilities -- not just black/white: huge, all encompassing enterprises or no business at all. I haven't been active on coho-L for a few months. Oldtimers know I'm one of those pushy people who obsesses about sustainability -- concluding that the American lifestyle is currently *wildly* unsustainable. Cohousing is a good step in the sustainable direction, but only a step. Suggestion: those living in coho already with a passion for business (or against commuting), how about starting a study group to look into possibilities. Let us know what evolves. Anybody else got stories of existing businesses? Any other ideas about how to meld working life into cohousing life? Go for it... (I love debating with Rob & Joani and others, but won't have much time in the next couple months. Aren't you glad!) Mike M
- Re: Businesses inside cohousing or nearby or.... Mmariner, October 8 1996
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