Re: Are We Done with the Rental Issue?
From: Fred H Olson (
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2011 04:51:50 -0800 (PST)
Grace Kim <grace [at]>
is the author of the message below.  It was posted by
Fred, the Cohousing-L list manager <fholson [at]>
after deleting quoted digest and restoring subject line.
--------------------  FORWARDED MESSAGE FOLLOWS --------------------

To your point, in the urban areas people. Don't think living in apts
is second class to sgl family homes. In fact, I am involved with a
small forming community in downtown seattle. We've not advertised at
all and people are finding us (2-3 new visitors monthly) because they
are interested in urban flats/apts. Daybreak cohousing is also an
example of very urban/dense but with lots of common area - doesn't
look/feel inferior to sgl family. And sgl family homes can be rented
as at Ravenna Commons in seattle, when they are existing homes.

I think there needs to be a paradigm shift in cohousing, not only in
rental vs ownership, but also new construction vs existing bldgs.

grace h. kim
schemata workshop
(sent via mobile messaging)

---- Original message ----
Message: 2
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2011 12:39:28 -0500
From: R Philip Dowds rpdowds [at]

I think the cohousing future is just as robust (or not) as the future of
housing generally. Having previously said that there is no particular
reason for cohousing to be cheaper than ?regular? housing, I will modify
that dogma a bit:

Multifamily housing ? starting with ?townhouses? or ?row houses?, and
progressing to ?apartment buildings? ? has a significant competitive cost
edge on single family housing. On a per square foot basis, it?s cheaper to
develop, cheaper to operate, pays lower taxes, and so on. But Americans
don?t want to live in ?apartment buildings?, they want to live single
family, in the burbs. And indeed, some cohousing developments look and feel
very suburban ? by the intent of the founders, of course.

But the cohousing philosophy of live-closer-and-share-more is highly
conducive to a multi-family construction solution. If cohousing has a
unique and enduring role to play in affordability, it might be that of
further de-stigmatizing multi-family configurations, such that (a) more
zoning ordinances would allow for it, and (b) more middle class households
would find it acceptable: a step up, not a step back.

Philip Dowds AIA
Cornerstone Cohousing
Cambridge, MA

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