Re: Urban Cohousing
From: Diane Simpson (
Date: Fri, 23 May 1997 21:37:39 -0500
>Date: Thu, 22 May 1997 10:55:23 -0500
>From: Ted Simon <simon_t [at]>
>To: cohousing-L [at]
>Subject: urban cohousing
>Message-ID: < [at]>
>I am part of Village in the City cohousing in St. Louis.  We are attempting
>to locate a site in a well-developed urban area.  Does anyone have any
>advice for the types of professionals to help us in site location?  Our
>main problem is that all the potential sites are already built up, so we
>will most likely have to buy a site with some housing in place and
>rehab/fill in.  We are also probably going to have to combine several
>properties to get a large enough site.  We have found an architect with an
>interest in cohousing to help evaluate the sites, but we aren't having much
>luck locating a real-estate or developer type of person to help us with
>identifying potential properties to investigate.  Most of these
>professionals either aren't interested in this type of project or have a
>hard time understanding what we're trying to do.

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Boy, that's a toughie! It doesn't sound like you have many home-grown
resources there to fall back on. Here's a few suggestions from someone
who's travelled down that road:

1. Do you own the cohousing video? For $44.00 this is one of the best
persuading tools you can buy. It *will* convince realtors and developers
that this is something they should be seriously interested in.

2. Visit the city planning agency and find out what resources they have
available. We were able to get maps at a large enough scale to show the
footprints of the buildings in Jamaica Plain, as well as a copy of the
zoning code. Also: the city planning agency or public facilities department
may know about housing fairs that are coming to St. Louis. Another place to
make sure you're at.

3. Walk around with a clipboard in your hand, looking at properties and
taking notes. Curious neighbors will come out and ask you what you're
doing. Have some brochures available to explain cohousing and talk about it
in a positive manner. I have gotton very helpful information about
properties this way.

4. Does St.Louis have an architect's society? Join it--or at least attend
their meetings. You will learn alot about what's being planned in the city,
and how you might be able to fit cohousing into those plans.

5. Keep a high profile--have lots of activites and attend lots of other
organizations' meetings. You'll make the connections that you need to get
the word out that you're a serious group and you're looking for property in
St. Louis.

Above all, like Rob Sandelin says: Don't give up! Ever!

Good luck,


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      @@@@        Diane Simpson      @@@@
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