Re: Different world-views in CoHo (was Re: Elevator Buildings)
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2012 10:40:18 -0700 (PDT)
On 20 Jul 2012, at 12:03 PM, Greg Nelson wrote:

>  There are home
> designs out there (200-300 sq ft) where the whole construction costs
> would be less than our lot fee.

In urban housing the "lot fee" is the issue. In order to make a location 
affordable, you have to build a certain number of units. In order to build that 
many units, you have to build up. If you build up, you need an elevator.

For the CH, the question is whether it is more than one floor or attached to 
stacked units.

With a focus on farming, one wouldn't want to pay city prices for land so 
perhaps building lots in rural areas would be affordable for houses all on one 

I would be very interested to hear about a community built around the small 
house movement — these are 600 SF and less. I think the 200 SF homes are 
unrealistic for adults with complex lives on a 24/7 basis.  These would most 
easily be built in rural areas because they would need zoning exemptions—not 
impossible to get but no one has done it yet.

> I honestly believe that the industrial revolution is
> about to be "over"... so given the choice between small homes that
> require little energy to heat, and buildings so tall that they require
> an elevator, the decision is obvious for me.  But that's just my
> world-view.

Many people believe the industrial revolution was over shortly after 1900. We 
live very differently than people lived at the beginning of the Industrial 
Revolution in 1563 or at the end when Ford make the car widely affordable. The 
problem with a group of people forming a community around pre 16th century 
ideals is finding people interested in doing that.

People on this list have been unable to find enough households interested in 
building a low income community in a given place. Those who are interested are 
too spread out and unable to move freely because they are low income. 

It's a problem that hasn't been solved on this list, partly because the numbers 
and the lack of amenities found in low-income housing don't work for people who 
read this list, and possibly for people who are interested in forming cohousing 

If you would like to get specific about numbers and housing characteristics, I 
think there are a lot of people here who could help you with information and a 
few who might join you.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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