academia, cohousing and habitat for humanity
From: C2pattee (
Date: Wed, 31 May 2000 12:41:37 -0600 (MDT)
as a long time volunteer with hartford area habitat for humanity, i was very 
interested to see this post about how cohousing elements could be 
incorporated into habitat's efforts.  in areas where habitat does build many 
houses on the same parcel of land, the community house would be an 
interesting addition.  

on the other hand,  here in hartford, where we started building multiunit 
dwellings (2-5 units) in the north end of hartford, we have had endless 
problems with the condominium associations formed to manage the common areas.

there are various problems. the folks who seek out a habitat home do so as 
individual families, and often don't know the families selected to live in 
adjoining units.  most of them are not interested in putting time and energy 
into working with others in the condo association.  we have had more than a 
few cases where one family absolutely didn't want to participate in group 
process, and /or didn't get along with the other families, and there was 
nothing anybody could do about it.

these multiunit dwellings were built in some really decaying neighborhoods, 
because for many years we held to the belief that by building owner-occupied 
housing, the neighborhoods could be improved.  finally, when we literally 
couldn't give away the last three units we built in a renovated three story 
building, we started building single family homes, on much safer streets, in 
better sections of the city.

i remain a dedicated habitat volunteer, but i learned a couple of lessons.  
first, location is everything, even if you're poor and currently living in 
expensive, substandard rental units.  second, people who want to live in 
community are a small, and very self selected, group; and to make that 
community work, they must be willing and able to put in time and energy on 
the process of building community.

Christine Pattee
Greater Hartford CT Cohousing
c2pattee [at]

>  Date: Sat, 27 May 2000 11:29:03 -0400
>  From: maruja torres <mtorres [at]>
>  To: coho [at],
>  Subject: Re:Conference Opportunity! - "Suburban Studies"
>  Message-ID: < [at]>
>  I've heard the concerns voiced in this mailing list about academia's
>  interest (or lack of) in cohousing.  I am happy to report that the
>  prospects are not as dim.

> Jo, John, and myself recently joined a team of professiionals that are
>  volunteering for Habitat for Humanity.  Habitat has plans for a self-built
>  eco-village in Alachua county that we hope will incorporate cohousing
>  features such as a common house. As you can imagine, this really is a
>  novelty for which there are very few precedents.  Our project has alredy
>  received coverage in the media because Habitat is not generally known for
>  building communities. Habitat usually builds single homes where resident
>  participate in the construction (but not the design) phase.  The team's
>  approach has been to take this even further: efforts are being made to make
>  this community as sustainable as possible, incorporating a range of green
>  features in the design. We also want this community to be as empowering as
>  possible for the residents, and cohousing seems to us the appropriate model
>  for this. At this point we don't know yet how much cohousing this is going
>  to be, but residents will participate in the development and management of
>  the community. It will have common grounds, shared parking, Energy-Star
>  homes and a common house. We are trying our best, because many people are
>  looking at us. 

  • (no other messages in thread)

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.