Re: BIG Co-housing. Who Loves It? Who Hates It?
From: Patjavcc (
Date: Sun, 26 Mar 2006 11:27:24 -0800 (PST)
I would consider this in an urban environment - San Fran is perfect (I lived 
there for 8 years from 1990 - 1998).

For this to really work, it should be broken up into min-neighborhoods.  Each 
'hood would have it's own shared commonspace.  With 100 units, I can imagine 
between three and four 'hoods in the building.  These can be mixed up 
randomely or separated by interests.  For example:  elders in one area, 
families with 
children or child-friendly adults in another.  Or maybe they can be separated 
by interests - for example: an artist neighborhood.  Each group would meet 
individually to plan the common space, rules, etc.

I love this idea.  It could be very eco-friendly with so many shared 
resources.  Plus in San Francisco...perfect.

So, Good Luck!

Patti Lautner
JP Cohousing
Boston, MA

In a message dated 3/26/2006 12:06:54 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
lionkuntz [at] writes:

> Brief Introduction.
> Name: Lion Kuntz,
> Location: Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California, USA
> Had 30-year career-adventures in community activism, media,
> eco-projects, property management. Presently
> semi-disabled/retired.
> I want to know how people feel the chances are for a co-housing
> success story in a large mixed-use single-building multi-family
> structure.
> I don't expect a lot of people to be familiar with the prime
> example in my mind, but some Californians and San Franciscans
> are. I am thinking of Opera Plaza on Van Ness Blvd, SF, CA,
> commercial on ground floor (restaurant, boutiques, theaters) and
> residential above. The example I am focussed on is described by
> realtors as "luxury condos", but in fact the floor plans are
> probably similar to what many co-housing developments typically
> offer. Located as it is across from City Hall, where parking is
> scarce, the building includes subterranean garage parking for
> residents and customers of businesses located there. The ground
> floor is one city block, roughly one hectare or 2.5 acres, and
> the building height (if I remember correctly, I am 60 miles
> north of there) is 6 stories. I would guess it has probably one
> hundred units.
> What is the reaction to co-housing proposed on this scale? Both
> positive and negative reactions are welcome, but I anticipate
> more negatives, so to follow-up... What needs to change before
> it approaches your threshhold of acceptability?
> The nearest actual co-housing project is about 12 miles from me
> in Cotati, called FrogSong. It is a small town main street
> development with storefronts on the street level (which are not
> associated with the co-housing) and housing town-houses and
> apartments in a court behind and above the stores. With 30
> residential units and 2.3 acres footprint it is one-third of the
> scale of Opera Plaza. From all reports FrogSong is a stellar
> success, so what is the "tipping point" before "too much of a
> good thing"?
> This is not purely theoretical -- for three years I have been
> exposing the world to a concept for a larger project, on the
> scale of Opera Plaza on my website, to which 450,000 visitors
> have logged in. Although I favor urban developments, rural land
> is often very much lower cost, so a rural version of this
> concept may be considered first before it is seen in cities. I
> have never used the term "co-housing" as a descriptor, although
> a majority of the elements in my concept are probably found in
> the average "co-housing community". Depending on what the
> home-owners association wanted, it could be co-housing from the
> roots up.
> The key points: 
> *** BIG (hectare, city block)
> *** MIxed-Use, commercial space on ground floor
> *** 100 families.
> Would you consider it? If not, what needs to change before you
> would? What is the one most important objection or barrier from
> you considering something like this?
> Sincerely, Lion Kuntz
> Sonoma County, California, USA
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