Re: retrofit cohousing vs co-nbhd [ was: Re: mythological cohousing..
From: Sanda Everette (
Date: Sat, 21 Aug 1999 14:53:49 -0600 (MDT)
So Fred,
In rereading your definition, I am trying to decide whether I am
correctly using the term describing my project.  I did adapt the term
after reading about N St. Cohousing.  In your definition, you mention
"retrofiting the social relations between people who live in close
proximity in existing housing. "  I see us doing that except I question
whether you mean with the people already living in that existing housing
or with people you attract to the existing housing who want to change
their social relations to be more like cohousing.  In our case, people
have been asked to leave...or moved on their own when they saw what was create space for people who want to live in community.

By the way, I just got back from two weeks+ weeks in Europe.  Among
other things, revisted the community in Italy called Damanhur.  Of
course they are a spiritual intentional community, not cohousing...if
anyone was curious I will do a separate email.

And the owner of our second building is again saying next month, he will
sell.  This time, it just may happen....looking for potential co-owners
and renters interested in what we are doing.

Sanda and Brian Everette

San Mateo Cooperative Community
Toward a sustainable lifestyle: 
grow some of your own food and/or know the gardener who is growing it.

> Date: Mon, 16 Aug 1999 09:10:56 -0500 (CDT)
> From: "Fred H. Olson" <fholson [at]>
> To: Multiple recipients of list <cohousing-l [at]>
> Subject: retrofit cohousing vs co-nbhd [ was: Re: mythological cohousing..
> Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.95.990816075513.2660A-100000 [at]>
> On Sun, 15 Aug 1999, paul kilduff wrote:
> > >
> > >5. Retrofit vs. new development.
> >
> > Same here, except in our case it's coneighborhood vs. new
> > development/retrofit (the difference is between buying one house at at time,
> > with possible rentals, and a comprehensive project, whether rehabbing
> > existing building(s) or building from the ground up).  We only have two
> > members left, and even we can't agree on that basic issue.
> Paul's clarification seemed to me to need clarification...
> I've been promoting the term "retrofit cohousing" for several years.  I
> think Kevin Wolf of N Street Cohousing was the first person I heard use
> the term.  See:
> I use it to mean retrofiting the social relations between
> people who live in close proximity in existing housing.  To form a
> cohousing community. "Close proximity" typically means adjacent /
> contiguous properties or potentially so (by an interveneing property
> joining).  While it may involve some changes, renovations, additions to
> the physical facilities, these are likely to be incremental and most
> structures are used basically unchanged.
> The way I understand Steve Habib Rose's use of the term 'neighbornets'
> (formerly "co-neighborhoods") is that the latter are made up of households
> spread over a larger geographic area - blocks or even miles apart.
> Thus there are likely to vehicles and "trips" involved for interaction to
> occur.  Also there is even less chance of casual interaction than with
> retrofit cohousing.
> Note that occasionally the term "retrofit cohousing" has been used
> (incorrectly in my opinion) to refer to a "comprehensive project"
> to rebuild a structure to make a cohousing community. While in
> general "rebuild" and "retrofit" can be interpreted similarly,
> I would hope that the compound term "retrofit cohousing" could be reserved
> for and widely understood to me something like I've described above.
> This is a hazard of reusing and coining terms.
> Fred
> --
> Fred H. Olson  fholson [at]    Minneapolis,MN   55411
> (612)588-9532  Amateur radio: WB0YQM          List manager of:
> Cohousing-L  See and Nbhd-tc --  Twin
> Cities Neighborhood issues list.  See

> I also have been using the term "retrofit cohousing" similar to the way that
> Fred suggests, and specifically trying to avoid using the term "neighbornets" 
> in
> situations where the group members all live adjacent to one another.
> Steve Habib Rose

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