meat and potatoes
From: Greg Lawless/UWCC (lawlessaae.wisc.edu)
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 1998 13:11:21 -0600
Hello.  I'm new to this list, but I promise that I skimmed the 
archives before posting the question below!  I thank you in advance 
for considering my (strange) request for information.

Here at the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, we're
hosting a training conference April 2 and 3 that is presenting the
various ways cooperatives and cooperative approaches can be applied
to an assortment of rural Wisconsin needs.  One such need is
affordable home ownership for working families.  

My understanding of co-housing is that many established examples
might be out of the price range of working (ie <$40,000/yr)
families. However, I definitely DO realize that that's not always
the case, and, in fact, we have a "self help" housing program in our
state that could fit very naturally with co-housing, and could
potentially reduce initial costs of developing new co-housing homes.

What I am looking for is an example of co-housing that would appeal
to average working families in rural Wisconsin.  For instance, I'd
like to highlight an example that involves single family homes, as
opposed to contiguous (or townhouse-like) units. Even more to the
point, I'm looking for an established community, and someone who
could speak on behalf of that community, who share a kind of "meat
and potatoes" culture or philosophy.  Some of the co-housing folks
I've met over the years fit my own profile too closely: excessively
educated, predictably left-leaning, conscientious to a fault, etc
etc.  

I can't think of any better way of saying that I'm looking for a
speaker who comes from a co-housing community that might appeal to a
Wisconsin deer hunter or average Jo-anne.  I want to present the most
practical aspects of co-housing, without a lot of emphasis on
ideological underpinnings.  I understand that many of the practical
aspects (shared childcare, shared maintenance, economies of scale,
etc) are intricately tied to ideology, but I'd rather let conference
participants make those connections themselves.  Put yet another
way, I'd rather highlight "common sense" benefits, as opposed to
"intentional community" motivations.

Please understand my challenge.  This conference is targeted to
county-level extension agents, community development professionals,
lenders, state agency representatives, and farm co-op leaders.  This
is a potentially conservative crowd.  I want to be careful to
present co-housing to them in a way that speaks to their own values,
experiences and expectations, and to those of their rural 
constituents.

I'm hoping there's someone out there, preferably in
Wisconsin-Minnesota-Iowa, who understands what I'm looking for, is
nevertheless not offended, and might consider speaking at our
conference.  Again, thanks for your time.  

By the way, a web page describing our conference can be found at 

http://www.wisc.edu/uwcc/events/devconf.html

I should emphasize that the conference is designed primarily for a 
Wisconsin/Minnesota/Iowa audience, particularly toward people 
professionally employed in some aspect of community/economic 
development.

--Greg

Greg Lawless, Outreach Specialist
University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives
224 Taylor Hall, 427 Lorch Street, Madison, WI 53706
phone: (608)265-2903   fax:   (608)262-3251
UWCC Home Page:    http://www.wisc.edu/uwcc/
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