Re: Rhapsodizing about Retrofit
From: Fred H. Olson (
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 09:19:33 -0600
On Sat, 7 Feb 1998, Joani Blank wrote:

> I've visited N Street, and I think it would be an thoroughly delightful
> But I have some words of
> caution for those of you who occasionally rhapsodize about N Street or read
> here the rhapsodizing of others.


  Thanks for the dose of realism.  I agree that the time required to
develop a retrofit cohousing community is likely long. Actually the
timeline is likely to be very different and intermediate states are very
different - evolving and less hectic.  Also the eventual result is likely
to involve fewer full member households and the layout will clearly be
less optimum.  It's also true that N Street had numerous fortuitous
characteristics.  However others have other strengths which we hope to
build on.  I use "hope" on purpose, the eventual result of attempts to
organize retrofit cohousing are far from clear.  And accumulated
experience is still sparse.  

But to keep things in perspective, remember that only some attempts to
build new construction cohousing ultimately succeed.

I checked and in my (1995?) article about retrofit cohousing ** ,
I cited similar reservations but concluded:

"Despite the many tradeoffs, retrofit cohousing may offer the best
 prospects for some of us to develop the community in urban areas
 that we dream of."

** Follow the link : "One description of Retrofit cohousing" at


Whose Homewood (retrofit) Cohousing related potluck and racial 
dialogue mailing list has grown to 30 and about 90% have 
networked voice mail or email but we still run around dropping off
notices and article reprints.  And Fred dreams of putting in 
conduit for a local network.  Dream on.

Fred H. Olson  fholson [at]    Minneapolis,MN   55411  
(612)588-9532  Amateur radio: WB0YQM          List manager of:
Cohousing-L  See        and      nbhd-tc  the
Twin Cities Neighborhood issues list. See

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