Re: community in old-fashioned neighborlhoods
From: Rowena Conkling (
Date: Sat, 30 May 1998 07:04:52 -0500
> >        the inability to make old neighborhoods attractive or "nice"  is the 
> > >
> cause of suburban sprawl.
> What got me interested in cohousing was the experience I had moving into 
an old city neighborhood that had been slated for "urban renewal" until 
numbers of people protested and started moving into the townhouses 
slated for demolition.   Because the banks originally wouldn't give 
decent mortgages people who moved in had to live there while they worked 
on the house themselves or paid to have owrk done in a piecemeal manner. 
 As someone on the list said, having a common goal - in our case saving 
an old neighborhood - creates neighbors.  We watched each others' kids, 
protested slumlords, lobbied for a library and new street lights, ate 
together, helped on building projects, etc.  Because it was a city 
neighborhood people walked around, to the store, to the subway, to 
the schools, to each others' homes.  The result was an amazing community 
where everyone looked out for each other and to which our children still 
return twenty years later to look up the old neighbors!

Of course, once the area had been improved the devleopers moved in, 
banks started lending, houses were divided into condos and before you 
could turn around there was a trendy area full of chic restaruants and 
boutiques!  Many of the original settlers moved on although some still 
remain.  I had to move about ten years ago, and missed the community 
terribly.  Cohousing provides the common goals missing in  most 
neighborhoods and after a few weeks here, it is already starting to seem 
like a "real" neighborhood.  Of course, we are an urban development with 
townhouses and flats and only a common veggie garden, lawn, etc., and a 
single garage!  

On another point, we've tried for diversity - two units sold to the 
local housing authority, one reserved for a limited equity program, an 
in-house affordability fund and our prices are a bit below market,  But 
yes, we're basically a middle class group.  

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