Re: Low cost housing
From: balaji (
Date: Wed, 14 May 2008 23:01:07 -0700 (PDT)
I agree with you, but what is the solution?  On the one hand, we cannot
build our cohousing community except in the investment environment in
which we live.  Financing and construction both exist in this environment,
and since we are not independently wealthy, we have no choice but to

On the other hand, housing and community are only "investments" in a crude
sense.  They are better conceptualized as social systems that, if
successful, endure. Over time, the best cohousing communities will be
valued for these reasons, regardless of what "the market" says.  In fact,
we should not surprised if the market changes sufficiently to make
cohousing commonplace.  If that happens, then a true melding of "market"
and "meaning" will have taken place.

One sees this already in some places, like New Zealand (where I am
currently.)  Here the market has begun to recognize the value of green
building and community, and developers are rewarded accordingly.  One has
only to look at the success of Earthsong ecovillage to see the evidence.

We can hope that Earthsong and similar communities are the harbingers of
things to come.

Charles Nuckolls
Utah Valley Commons

> If cohousing is about building community and community is about building
> relationships as well as sharing things so we can reduce our planetary
> impact, I'm having a bit of a problem developing much sympathy for the
> view
> that our houses should be investments. I understand the reality. The
> population is mobile and job opportunities and other life-altering events
> can cause sudden relocations. But then why invest that much in a
> community?
> Wouldn't the suburban norm be a better choice?
> There was a time when houses weren't investments but places to live in.
> Small towns had big houses adjacent to little houses and neighbors somehow
> managed to live in community. It wasn't perfect but the frequent
> collisions
> of differing views required civility and tolerance. Then we sprawled,
> enshrined the automobile and sought a comfortable homogeneity. Community
> was
> lost in the process and houses became things we temporarily occupied until
> we could afford something "better". They became investments. Now, some of
> us
> are beginning to realize what we have lost. We want to recover the sense
> of
> community but still want a house that will appreciate faster than
> inflation.
> For some, that has become the road to a comfortable retirement. Retirement
> comes; we cash out of our community and then what?
> I'm not sure we can have it both ways: real communities and investment
> vehicles. Can those two mindsets coexist? Do they have to?
> John Faust
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