Wheelchair accessibility
From: White, Mary (Mary.Whitemwra.state.ma.us)
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2005 11:02:33 -0800 (PST)
Regarding Message 3 from Susana Michaelis - Wheel chair accessibility.

Cornerstone Village Cohousing in Cambridge, MA is a fully accessible
community. We have presently two wheelchair users and another person with
handicapped parking rights, we sadly had a third wheelchair user pass away
this summer. We made the commitment to have every unit visitable. This means
a person in a wheel chair can enter every unit in our community and use an
accessible bathroom which is on the first floor in each unit. In addition,
we have an elevator in our apartment building which includes access to a
personal storage unit in the basement, our recycling closet, wood working
shop and a "teen room". All common spaces and rooms are accessible and our
paths are also wheelchair accessible. Our common kitchen could be redesigned
to be more ergonomical and accessible. Some units have customized an
accessible oven which is lower, lower sink, washer/dryer - the benefits of
getting into the group before the units are constructed. Our  two wheelchair
users at the time were in on the planning stage of our design so they were
reserved the accessible units and were able to customize. Some elders
independently chose the units on one level but first to join the community
had first choice. Price dictated who bought what too.  

Our townhouses all have stairs to the upper floors, in our second building
with the units called "flats" a lift is in service there. Providing
accessibility is not a detriment at all, some of the accessible units are on
the first floor of two separate buildings but one woman who used a wheel
chair owned the four bedroom condo and stayed on the first floor while
renting out her upstairs. I think the accessibility issue appealed to the
older members of the community, and that made it easy for them to buy in.
Yet we have had other members on crutches and any person could at any time
be in need of the lift and/or elevator at any age.   

We are an urban dense development on one-acre of land. We have 32 units
total, 6 one-bedrooms all on one level, 4 two-bedrooms that are all on one
level. The steep stairs in our unit which goes to the bedrooms was one of my
concerns when buying our unit and was a big drawback for me, ( I was 40 at
the time when buying 3 yrs ago) but our unit has so many other positive
aspects about it I decided that a lot could happen between now and then. 

Please go will full visitability in every unit. Could you imagine a family
with a wheel chair bound child not being able to visit anyone especially
other young playmates in the community because the chair couldn't get into
the unit and the bathroom is not usable? After watching a video on
accessibility we all unanimously voted for accessibility.

No one has had to sell due to an injury or illness, people with such needs
bought the units that were on one level. Except for the one young woman who
used a wheel chair in a 4- bedroom who had room mates. Her room was on the
first floor (Although her unit was on the third floor of our building). We
never quite fully addressed the issue of evacuating her if the elevator
could not be used. I would have a number of units with a range of unit sizes
(more one bedrooms) with all rooms fully accessible especially if you will
be providing affordable units through a city requirement as we had to. There
are a lot of veterans with families returning from Iraq using wheel chairs. 

Our hallways in the common house do seem to be wide. One resident added a
sitting room and reference library outside her unit in a larger hallway
space that some of us use. It gives us an extra cozy place to look at cook
books, and plan common meals. My daughter uses the atlas's and encyclopedia
and such - storage can be creative. 

Best wishes,

Mary White
Cornerstone Cohousing 
Cambridge, MA


-----Original Message-----
From: mikearnott [at] juno.com [mailto:mikearnott [at] juno.com]
Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2005 6:32 AM
To: White, Mary
Subject: Fw: Cohousing-L Digest, Vol 12, Issue 12 hi Judy

--------- Forwarded message ----------
From: cohousing-l-request [at] cohousing.org
To: cohousing-l [at] cohousing.org
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2005 03:16:20 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Cohousing-L Digest, Vol 12, Issue 12
Message-ID: <20050111111620.930824300B0 [at] leela.tigertech.net>

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Today's Topics:

   1. Request for pictures: Cohousing environmentalism (Odysseus)
   2. Two-Bedroom Unit for Sale at Pleasant Hill Cohousing
      (Susan L. Hedgpeth)
   3. Wheelchair Accessibility (Pacific Gardens Cohousing Community)


Message: 1
Date: Sun, 09 Jan 2005 20:53:43 -0800
From: Odysseus <odysseus [at] cosmosgame.org>
Subject: [C-L]_ Request for pictures: Cohousing environmentalism
To: cohousing-L [at] cohousing.org
Message-ID: <41E20A57.3000604 [at] cosmosgame.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed


I live at Winslow Cohousing, Bainbridge Island, Washington. I am going 
to be giving two talks on Community and Environmentalism. The first talk 
will be this Wednesday and it will be for a relatively small number of 
people, but then in March I will be talking to about 100 people.

The basic premise of my talk is that building community and specifically 
cohousing is one of the most powerful things that we can do to help the 
environment. If you are curious, I've written up my basic ideas here:


Anyways, a big part of my talk is a slide show that shows what cohousing 
looks like. I've got some nice pictures, but I would like to get some 
more. It occured to me that people on this list might have some 
pictures. I'm open for anything really as long as it shows how cohousing 
can be beneficial to the environment. Heck it might be nice if the 
picture just shows some nice facet of cohousing (or other intentional 
community). If you have anything that you are willing to share that 
would be great.



Message: 2
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2005 16:19:57 -0800
From: "Susan L. Hedgpeth" <hedgpeth [at] uclink4.berkeley.edu>
Subject: [C-L]_ Two-Bedroom Unit for Sale at Pleasant Hill Cohousing
To: cohousing-L [at] cohousing.org
Message-ID: < [at] calmail.berkeley.edu>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"; format=flowed

Dear cohousing list folks,

Here is a notice for an available unit at our community, Pleasant Hill 
Cohousing, Pleasant Hill, California which is in the San Francisco Bay 
Area, near Walnut Creek.



2-bedroom townhouse at Pleasant Hill Cohousing
Pleasant Hill, California

Two Bedroom / 1.5 Bath  plus Closet converted to Home Office

~1200 sq.ft. two-story townhouse

Bedrooms include:  large closets with built-in shelves; second bedroom
additional, extensive custom built-in shelving and large desk

Under-stairs closet converted to home office with 2 computer desks, 
built-in shelves, electrical outlet and phone jack

Attic has pull down ladder and flooring for storage

Maple Pergo flooring downstairs, 100% wool berber upstairs

Quality appliances include gas stove, stackable high efficiency washer
dryer, etc.; ceiling fans

Hydronic heating / top-of-the-line insulation & passive cooling

List price:  $425,000

For more information about the unit, contact Heidi at (510) 757-5418 or 
zelinari [at] hotmail.com.

To learn more about the community, please visit our website:
(Sorry, some of the info is out of date.)
or contact Susan Hedgpeth at (510) 642-8093 or hedgpeth [at] berkeley.edu.


Message: 3
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2005 18:14:17 -0800
From: Pacific Gardens Cohousing Community
        <cohousing [at] pacificgardens.ca>
Subject: [C-L]_ Wheelchair Accessibility
To: cohousing-l [at] cohousing.org
Message-ID: < [at] pop.pacificgardens.ca>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"; format=flowed

Hello everyone,

Pacific Gardens Cohousing Community is currently in the design phase, and

our goal is to have 25 attached units (townhouse style) with a 5000
foot common house central to the building. We anticipate having 3
in order to minimize the footprint and preserve as much garden and
greenspace as possible. This means some of the units will be on the
floor, and others may have at least 2 stories.

We are making critical decisions now on the layout of our units and
house amenities. We would like to make the best use of interior space in 
the units, so that they are efficient as well as comfortable. In general,

we don't want overly large rooms and hallways when smaller ones may give 
more cupboards or closets and much needed storage space.

Here are questions we would like feedback on:

- What percentage of units should be wheelchair friendly, with wide 
doorways, larger bathrooms ..?
- What size units should accommodate wheelchairs, 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom, 3

bedroom etc.?
- How often has this been an issue in your cohousing community? Did
have to sell and move away if they became dependent on a wheelchair?
- Did non wheelchair-bound people buy the specialized units, as a hedge 
against their possible need later in life?
- Are units with stairs popular, or do they become a problem for current 
residents and for resale?

Thanks for your valued expertise. I'm sure this challenge has been met in

many different ways, so please respond with any advice you can share with

Susana Michaelis
Pacific Gardens Cohousing Community,
Nanaimo BC, Canada


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