Re: Urban Affordable Cooperative Cohousing Communities.
From: John Faust (
Date: Sat, 14 Feb 2009 12:49:39 -0800 (PST)

Thanks for the article. It's probably not surprising that it would be
difficult to "hold the line" in that environment (prior to collapse). As the
world around you is "cashing in", it would be hard to maintain an island of
affordable housing subsidized only by personal sacrifice. But that is one of
the costs of economic bubbles, they distort (pervert) everything including
good intentions like trying to create enduring (and affordable)

I don't think that house-as-investment vs house-as-place-in-community is
really a personal choice. I suspect it has to be a cultural choice. Given
the utter failure of the current flatulent (or stinky bubble) capitalism, we
might be seeing some major shifts in the way we view life, including how we
view our homes.


On Thu, Feb 12, 2009 at 8:46 PM, Flowers <flowers2 [at]> wrote:

> Hi,
> Here is an article from the New York Times, written in 2006, at the top of
> the "bubble." It shows how emotional the subject of affordability vs.
> investment can be:
> Ed Flowers
> Yulupa Cohousing
> Santa Rosa, CA
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "John Faust" <wjfaust [at]>
> To: "Cohousing-L" <cohousing-l [at]>
> Sent: Thursday, February 12, 2009 6:29 PM
> Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Urban Affordable Cooperative Cohousing Communities.
> >
> > Actually, the question of whether housing should be regarded as an
> > investment or as a shelter with enduring community commitment appeared on
> > this list more than a year ago. It was before the housing bubble was
> > visibly
> > collapsing. That discussion didn't gain much traction since most made the
> > assumption that houses that didn't appreciate substantially were somehow
> > defective. That made it somewhat of a moot point. The question, however,
> > wasn't whether houses should appreciate but rather how they should be
> > regarded -- as investments or as enduring commitments. Maybe now, that
> > question takes on new meaning.
> >
> > The house-as-investment view seems at odds with an underlying motivation
> > for
> > cohousing: the restoration of community in our lives. I guess if one
> > bought
> > into a community with the idea of recovering that investment through a
> > reverse mortgage, then both commitment and investment are aligned. But is
> > it
> > likely that someone viewing it as an investment would not upgrade to an
> > even
> > more productive investment if the opportunity presented itself?
> >
> > I don't think the question is an academic one. It probably has an impact
> > on
> > what you build and how you build it. I don't think building for
> investment
> > or marketability -- a key for developer-financed projects -- would
> produce
> > the same physical structures as a community-financed project. A developer
> > will have to build for a reasonably large segment of the market and that
> > is
> > understandable. She can't go broke satisfying some client group's dreams.
> > On
> > the other hand, in community-financed projects, the community might take
> > more risks in the use of alternative solutions that haven't been viewed
> as
> > mainstream (e.g., local energy production, water conservation, native
> > landscaping, small environmental footprint or affordability).
> >
> > So if you build for investment, you will more than likely steer closer to
> > conventional solutions. After all, the performance of that investment
> will
> > depend on how large that market is when you are ready to recover your
> > gains.
> > If you build for an enduring commitment, you might get a better fit for
> > the
> > members of the community.
> >
> > Another consideration might be participation in the community governance
> > and
> > maintenance. Investors are likely to view that as an additional tax on
> the
> > investment and opt out. It would be interesting to look at how some of
> > these
> > aspects of cohousing vary (if at all) between developer-financed and
> > community-financed communities. Is turnover in developer-financed
> projects
> > higher? Is participation in community-financed projects higher? These are
> > just guesses and the answers might surprise me.
> >
> > John
> > _________________________________________________________________
> > Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:
> >
> >
> >
> >
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