Re: retrofits?
From: Fred H. Olson (
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 1999 13:34:30 -0500
On Fri, 16 Jul 1999, Eris Weaver wrote:

> Our group has recently been presented with the possibility of purchasing
> an existing 24-unit townhouse development for a reasonable price within
> our target location range.  I would love to hear from other communities
> that have any experience with this type of retrofit, to increase the
> information we have available in making a good decision about whether to
> go for it or not!
> ***********************
> Eris Weaver
> Sonoma County Cohousing
> eris [at]

I am not aware of any townhouse developements that have been converted to
cohousing tho A group I was with once considered it (we did not consider
it for long due to location mostly).  Such conversions seem like that hold
a lot of potential but as others have noted considerable care should go
into a specific proposal.   (There were several message about a proposed
conversion of a new development a while back - I'd have to search for
details and I'd be interested in whats developed on it.)

The other response asked if the development you are considering is new.
More to the point I think is, is it occupied?  If so then the transistion
becomes much more complicated depending on the terms of occupancy of
current residents.  As far as common space is concerned, I would urge
considerable creativity.  

As you know there is considerable debate as to the relative contribution
of architecture versus social organization.  Starting with an existing
community certainly locks you in to many features of the community.  BUt
with enough commitment a group can overcome these and function as a

One feature that immediately comes to mind is where and how cars are dealt
with.  I often describe cohousing communities as resembling a townhouse
development turned inside out by which I mean the cars are kept on the
periphery.  Having a non car courtyard is very desireable. 

Just a few thoughts.  Please keep us informed on what developes.


7/7/99 Back from the great tour of Danish Cohousing and catching up...
Fred H. Olson  fholson [at]    Minneapolis,MN   55411  
(612)588-9532  Amateur radio: WB0YQM          List manager of:
Cohousing-L  See and Nbhd-tc --  Twin 
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