Re: Aging in Place: Is your community becoming a NORC?
From: Greg Nelson (
Date: Fri, 14 May 2010 10:58:51 -0700 (PDT)
Yes, another long-delayed response...

> We may have all aspired to be young and enjoy our children forever.
> However, as we witness our children maturing and leaving for
> college, one day we awake and realize we have aged ourselves and our
> community may have become a NORC: a Naturally Occurring Retirement
> Community.

One of the questions that needs to be addressed is the whole
house-as-investment issue.  If each family that moves in and out
expects to receive a higher price (above the rate of inflation) upon
the sale of their home, then eventually only people who have reached
peak earning and/or trough spending points will be able to afford
them; they will become out of reach to young families or other who
have the opposite situation.

I say this from the experience of having lived in Pittsburgh, PA as a
graduate student.  Because the town had suffered such a huge recession
due to the closing of the steel mills, housing prices had dropped
phenomenally.  It was within reason for a few grad students to get
together and *buy* a home for the few years they were in town.  In my
own (long-established) neighborhood, it was a very dynamic mix of
young singles, young families, and older people who still lived there
from "before the bust."  This was possible because people could pay
$350/month for a mortgage.

So once again, I think we need to look at the affordability of
cohousing (including things like housing trusts to maintain long-term
affordability) and also more broadly to the general problem of
oxyMORONIC "sustainable growth" in our current economic system, when
we're considering the NORC problem.

Greg Nelson                     email:  ghn [at]
White Hawk Ecovillage           phone:  607-273-2576
Ithaca, NY 14850                web:

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