RetroFit Cohousing
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sat, 6 Jul 2002 12:07:01 -0600 (MDT)
>  I'd like 
> to see us do a lot-development retrofit, by which I mean that we
> identify a neighborhood that has a wide range of housing units and
> types available (we are looking at existing city neighborhoods, close
> to downtown Portland) and as individuals/families/households, live as
> near to each other as possible.  When houses or apartment buildings
> close to the commonhouse are for sale or for rent, this will give a
> household the opportunity to move closer in.  I would like to apply
> the new-development idea of getting a common house first, start
> community meetings, potlucks, and dinners on site as soon as
> possible. 

I am very interested in this model. Please keep us up to date on how it is
going. After seeing how hard it is to actually design and build from
scratch, retro-fit might actually be easier. And in urban areas like DC,
where bare land is unavailable or much too expensive, it may be only way
cohousing can grow.

Starting with a commonhouse might be the thing that really gets it  moving.
It instantly creates a sense of community and commonground. You have a
center and a space to share activities equally. You also have a place to
store jointly purchased stuff like lawnmowers or food.

One group had the idea of buying a house and renting the upstairs to one
household to pay for the building and provide a temporary space for
households in transition from one house to another or while a house is being

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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