|Re: Rhapsodizing about Retrofit||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Kevin Wolf (kjwolfdcn.davis.ca.us)|
|Date: Sat, 14 Feb 1998 13:00:09 -0600|
At 08:05 PM 2/13/98 -0600, Sanda Everette wrote: snip> >Though we did not do a site search; we just decided we wanted to live >where we were currently renting, this site does meet much of the >criteria that you describe. At N Street, we also began as renters who bought the first home from our landlord. One of the reasons N Street could begin is I committed to live in this neighborhood and make the house I had bought my permanent home. When an opportunity came to form a partnership to buy the two houses next door, it was a natural thing to do since I had no "dream" of finding the greener grass on the other side of the hill. We know of four seperate groups of other friends (two in Santa Cruz and two in Davis) who have torn down fences with their neighbors. Two of these groups want to eventually become an N Street type cohousing project. They are on a ten year time line and hope that over the next decade they can have friends and potential community members buy or rent the surrounding block of homes. The other two groups are happy at their two and three linked homes and don't envision getting larger but are open to it. Long term thinking and patience, on going friendliness with neighbors, sharing the dream with others, and enjoying the benefits of even two homes linked seem to be valuable virtues to have in creating a retrofit community. The other way is to find a neighborhood like ours which is mostly rental property and agressively take over a block. Because most rentals turn over very rapidly, and cohousing renters are usually much better than the usual tenants, landlords can see the advantage of renting to cohousing people. There is a negative to this in that, at least here, some of the landlords now have no interest in selling because they have a stable rental base without the usual problems that make landlords want to get out of the business. We were able to convince a number of our landlords to sell to us by explaining how they could save the real estate commission (6%) by selling to us now. (In most cases we split the real estate commission and after agreeing on an appraised value for the house, reduce the price by 3%.) We now have two homes from across the street whose families regulary participate in our community meals and functions. It certainly seems possible that one can create a non-contiguous retrofit community, though the many spontaneous interactions of having the same backyards and crossing paths with each other on the way to the chickens, laundry facilities, tools, gardens etc would be lessened. Kevin Wolf kjwolf [at] dcn.davis.ca.us Build community and lessen the hegemony of the corporate consumer culture.
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