Re: affordable cohousing and community land trusts
From: Fred H Olson (
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2001 19:08:02 -0600 (MDT)
On Mon, 2 Apr 2001, amanda huron amandahuron [at] wrote:

> Hello, my name is Amanda Huron and I am a masters student in urban planning. 
>   I am researching how cohousing can be developed in a way that is 
> affordable to lower-income people.  Specifically, I am working with a 
> non-profit housing develpment corporation that is interested in developing 
> cohousing as part of their community land trust.  What have folks out there 
> done to try to make their cohousing communities affordable to a wide range 
> of incomes?  Have you worked with city agencies or non-profits?  Does anyone 
> have experience in developing cohousing on a community land trust?
> Please e-mail me directly, at huron [at]  I greatly appreciate any 
> assistance.
> Thanks,
> Amanda

Hi Amanda,

I am very pleased that you are researching this issue.  The cost of
housing certainly complicates the creation of housing a great deal.
My estimate is that the number of people who would like to live in
cohousing ('wannabes') out numbers the people actually living in cohousing
by a several times over.

I do need to warn you that cohousing folks have been the focus of
many research efforts and have been asked to complete surveys and answer
questions multiple times.  Succeeding efforts understandably may
get a smaller response.  To lessen this problem I urge you to study
what has already been written, collaborate with other researchers
etc as much as possible.  A quick search of cohousing-L archives
(see URL below which encodes a search for messages that have
"affordable" in the subject line) found 113 messages:

Browsing messages at about the same time as these 'hits' would probably
find relevant messages that did not get "affordable" in the subject.
Of course there are other possible search terms.
On the archives page (link below) there is a full text search tool.

The Publications on Cohousing page (and linked report)
is a fall 1999 listing of publications - mostly academic theses
on cohousing:

One approach to developing cohousing that seems like it might make
cohousing more affordable is:

 Retrofit  Cohousing is developed in existing housing by changing
 the way the occupants of that housing relate - usually with new occupants
 moving in to participate in the community.  Retrofiting the social
 relations and not necessarily the structures. See

Jo Williams <williams [at]> is also currently
conducting research.  See the recently posted message:
[C-L]_US Cohousers Eco Survey has the following structure:


Fred H. Olson  fholson [at]    Minneapolis,MN   55411
(612)588-9532  Amateur radio: WB0YQM          List manager of:
Cohousing-L and Nbhd-tc (Twin Cities Neighborhood issues list)
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