Re: Diversity and affordability
From: Jock Coats (
Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2002 17:12:01 -0600 (MDT)
Fred H Olson wrote:

Craig Mosher in Berkeley CraigMosher1 [at] is the author of the message below. How can I contact or get info on cohousing projects that have actually included subsidized units (using government or private money to cover subsidies) for low income people? Paul Fenn and Kay Argyle responded to this and I'll be in touch. Are there others?
Can I ask, from the other side of the pond, what you actually mean by 'low income people'?

I don't know what your land values are compared with average or with income or whatever, but the problem we have in Oxford is that land is worth something in the order of GBP1.5 million per acre which means that you have to have people with serious up front capital to be able to buy the land before you develop.

However, one thing I see co-housing being able to do is to provide 'not for profit' housing in that it's a bunch of people getting together and arranging their own building and so on so there is no speculative housebuilder trying to make a profit on top of that land cost. My contention is that if there were no profit out of it, they would de facto be affordable for most of the people for whom we currently have to make special provision for affordablility (mainly what we are calling 'key worker' professionals - nurses, teachers, and so on).

In that case, what we need is some benefactor to buy the land temporarily until the units are sold to ordinary income folks.

The other scenario is that you really mean people who are more or less permanently priced out of the owner occupancy model, which of course involves finding a grant maker to own the property which other people rent at affordable prices.

Now I would contend that there is a whole other role here for philanthropic organisations. Why should people feel that the only acceptable model is ownership? The benefits of ownership in common, through a co-operative or a 'social landlord' are clear. And ought to be a positive choice, rather than what is commonly becoming here 'welfare housing'. Does co-housing have a role here? I think i does. It goes one step further than co-operative housing (though it could be co-operative).


+  Jock Coats, Oxford Liberal Democrats, M3a Morrell Hall, OX3 0TU  +
+       T:+44 1865 485019 M:+44 7769 695767 F:+44 845 1275714       +
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