Raleigh-Durham (NC) News&Observer: Real Estate story on coho
From: Raines Cohen (rainesmac.com)
Date: Sat, 18 Nov 2006 08:24:20 -0800 (PST)
This just hit the streets today, can anyone on this list in that area pick up a paper copy to see if there's a sidebar with the cohousing.org URL? (sometimes newspaper websites don't include the links on stories like this)


Sharing a magic place
DENISE SHERMAN , Correspondent

It opens:
You suspect there's something distinctive about the suburban neighborhood when you spot Emily Weinstein out on a sunny morning, painting the woods in oil on a piece of recycled lumber. Weinstein, an artist and writer, lives in a cohousing community. She has chronicled a community effort that many of her Solterra neighbors were involved in to save 43 acres of former Duke Forest land from development in her new book "Saving Magic Places." The property adjoins the Solterra neighborhood.


The piece is about 25 paragraphs long. It looks like it's the lead article, but it's hard to tell on the website. It gets the name of the cohousing association a little jumbled, but one of Dave Wann's books is cited, along with cohousing professional Giles Blunden and Zev and Neshama and Joani, plus several people who founded and live in communities in the paper's circulation area.

Here's some excerpts (click the link above to read the whole thing, and use the "Email to a friend" link to get it rated higher):

People who live in cohousing are also passionate about being good neighbors. You might find them out shoveling a neighbor's driveway like Solterra's George and Judith Krassner did when they came back from a Florida vacation one winter. Or at an ice-cream party for the neighborhood children like Judith Krassner held in her home recently. Or out picking kale from an organic community garden like retired Tulane University librarian Phil Leinbach. Or at the poetry readings in the common house retired clinical social worker and poet Bennett Myers organized for his neighbors. Or eating meals together in the common house which most neighbors share three or four times a week.


"We liken it to having extended family, both the blessings and the challenges," said Becky Laskoedy, a scientist at GlaxoSmithKline who calls the blessings of living in Carrboro's Arcadia the social support for her raising children and the closeness she feels to her neighbors. "You often have chrotchety old aunt or uncle who's hard to get along with. Occasionally, we have that." Why that matters a little more in cohousing than in your standard suburban real estate is that cohousing rules are made by consensus at community meetings of the homeowners association. Everyone has to agree, much like in a Quaker meeting. Laskoedy admits this can bring challenges. Sometimes you have to learn not to be judgmental when the neighbors down the way are concerned about the traffic that the farmers will bring in instead of the vegetables and won't sign on to a Community Supported Agriculture agreement for local farmers to deliver their goods to the neighborhood, she said.


Green architect Giles Blunden, who designed site plans and houses in Solterra and Arcadia and is in the process of designing all of Pacifica, said there is plenty of demand for cohousing in the Triangle, yet it doesn't fit into the traditional market structures very easily.

"Pacifica has been sold since we started it," said Blunden, who includes residents' ideas into the design of the communities. "There is a longer process because of this than in a standard subdivision. It doesn't fit the traditional pattern very well. Most developers don't like to mess with people when they are building. We want people involved in the design."

"It's like a small old-fashioned neighborhood where I grew up as a kid," said Krassner, who lived as a child in a suburb of New York. "Everybody knows their neighbor. The youngest resident is five years old and the oldest is over 80. It's diverse ethnically and professionally."

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