RE: Cohousing and car sharing
From: brian (
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1999 16:47:04 -0600 (MDT)
Rob Sandlin wrote:
I doubt cohousing will ever evolve much in the way of car ownership 

I must disagree with this statement.  If cohousing communities are going to 
work, we must evolve to meet our real needs.  Our community required 
ownership to get started because we couldn't get it built any other way. 
 Now that we are living here, I refuse to be tied to "this is what 
cohousers do" limitations.  For a community to be meaningful and 
sustainable, the members of the community will have to figure out what 
works for them.  There is no one right way for a cohousing community to be. 

Our community is within a year of car sharing.  We often loan each other 
cars now but the ownership is separate.  Some of us are waiting to replace 
are outdated cars with a shared electric/hybred vehicle when they come out 
in the next year.

Brian Setzler
Trillium Hollow
Portland, Oregon

The private property ownership model of cohousing is very intrenched in the
Cohousing definition and Americans in general,and  this is one of the 
filters of cohousing.  Next to a house, a car is the next most expensive
property and status that Americans own. Since you filter in people who find
home ownership important, then sharing car ownership is not likely to find
much interest. I would suspect that in communities that do not have home
ownership as a central tenet, that sharing ownership of cars would be
easier. For example, I know of 4 income sharing communities that share
ownership of their fleet.

The private ownership boundaries of cohousing set some clear limitations in
most groups. For instance, I have not heard of cohousing groups sharing
income or doing income support when a member loses their job. In the condo
model that most groups adopt, each individual is responsible for their own
mortgage and if you can't cut it economically, well, see you later. So 
economic support is not typically part of cohousing, and sharing a car is a
large economic issue.

At Sharingwood ownership of a truck is shared amoung several people who own
"shares" in the truck. This is very handy because you mostly only need a
truck occiasionally. We own a small sail boat the same way. If you want to
use the truck but do not own a share, then you pay a user fee.

Rob Sandelin
Northwest Intentional Communties Association
Building a better society, one neighborhood at a time

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