|Re: Different world-views in CoHo (was Re: Elevator Buildings)||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: R.N. Johnson (cohorandayahoo.com)|
|Date: Wed, 1 Aug 2012 17:00:39 -0700 (PDT)|
I'd like to hear a little more about the world-view that leads to the conclusion that elevators (or gas heat, or TVs in the common house) are a "must-have." I suspect that this is a simplification of a large number of potential worldviews. From earlier posts, I believe the question of to have or not to have an elevator depends on a variety of issues, and in some localities may be required because of disabled access requirements form common areas. If you want be inclusive and welcoming of people who are permanently or temporarily mobility impaired, and wishing to plan for the reality that many if not most of us will at some point in our lives have difficulty getting around, you may lean toward the elevator. You might also set up spaces that can be used flexibly, so that you can duplicate any function you have upstairs in a downstairs room as well (having both an upstairs and a downstairs guest room, meeting room/ exercise room etc...). An elevator (or grab bars in the Common house bathroom, or ramp into the building etc...) may seem far more important to a person after they have suffered a severe accident, turned 70, or had their parents come live with them due to declining health than it was when the person was 30, their parents were a vigorous 55, and they were not suffering through a 2 year rehab process after that tractor accident. I think you will find a range of community standards for TV in the common house. As for gas heat, exclusively self-grown, vegan or organic meals, extremely small house size, all off grid electric etc... while any or all of these things may be excellent goals, your probability of establishing successful communities that puts any of these more restrictive requirements is very substantially smaller than the already too small probability of starting a new community that is closer to the mainstream. Actual communities are much more successful at influencing people to reduce their resource footprint than forming communities. While my community was in its forming stages, we encountered several other forming communities with a more restrictive concept- a Buddhist vegan community, another of practitioners of non violent communication, an a couple of Christian- based communities, one fairly mainstream, one fairly alternative. None of them have come to pass, and as far as I know none are still active. Why? Because the number of people of each of those persuasions who is ready to commit to putting down money for an actual community at any one point in time is much smaller than the number of people my garden variety cohousing could draw from. I live in a retrofit community that has a one story common house, and two story units. We considered accessibility issued when we moved in, and decided that while not optimal, we could figure out an inexpensive work around to make the common house accessible, and some non-optimal but not too expensive ways to make the units accessible. Let me make clear that I am probably one of the two people most focused on sustainability in my community- the one who lobbied ( unsuccessfully) to put aside scarce money to go towards retrofiting our community to make it more energy and water efficient, one of a few who made sure to be on a major bus line, and within biking distance of work, shopping and entertainment, and for the establishment of composting, keeping the garden pesticide free, who was vegetarian/ and or vegan for most of her adult life etc... I would love it if my community committed to reducing our resource use in a larger way. That said, by living in community, most of my neighbors have substantially increased their "green" quotient in several ways- downsizing, using less electricity on heating due to shared walls, carpooling, biking, walking and taking public transportation more, composting, eating vegan, vegetarian and organic more often at common meals or at home after getting some hands on experience etc.... Living in community has moved all of us to the more sustainable end of things, and made a far greater impact than our combined individual efforts would have. Having lived in rural, suburban and urban areas, I have personally experienced the many ways in which rural life can often "feel" greener, while in reality using up a ton of gas to get to the grocery store 30 miles away/ commuting to the job far away/ living in the big, resource heavy house with the cute little solar panel on top and the little garden out back. I personally think that given the numbers of people in the world now, we need to focus on finding ways to make urban life more connected with nature, while conserving resources, minimizing use of fuel for transport and maximizing open spaces, rather than sending more people to live the country life in less impacted areas. Another way to keep things affordable is to share common house space with businesses, use economies of scale- sharing a common house between more households, or even sharing the space with more than one community. I honor those who are committed to a life of radical simplicity, minimizing their resource footprint whether it be in an urban or rural area. I don't think that a majority of people in industrial nations are going to voluntarily embrace that ideal. I know that Americans and other people from industrial nations have not taken advantage of so many ways to maintain a fairly similar lifestyle while making much more efficient use of this planet's resources. I have to admit I prefer to live in smaller buildings, but I know that the high rise communities are making very efficient use of scarce resources by minimizing their land footprint, and locating in areas with good public transportation. This is more wandering than I had intended, but the basic point is that life is complicated, and there are many good reasons to go in very different directions to achieve similar goals, so be careful of jumping to judgement. Randa Johnson New Brighton Cohousing Aptos, CA A few months ago, there was a thread on elevators in buildings. I'mjust reading it at last, but it struck me as strange because itreinforced how some priorities of co-housing are clearly shared, whileothers are DRAMATICALLY different. Clearly we come to this sharedideal of co-housing with a range of different "world views."The quote that got my attention was (in part):> Aside from the question of cost effectiveness, our community [...]> This was way above code [...] > we wouldn't have considered not having an elevator [...] > It was (and is) expensive but considered a 'must-have'. It seems clear to me that the community where this poster lives has a dedication to inclusiveness, diversity, and many other things that are central to co-housing. And yet, from the same goal of inclusiveness and diversity, we can come to very different conclusions. As mentioned in a recent post, ours is a community where homesteading, growing our own food, and similar interests are common. This has us thinking about affordability in a different way: ideally we would like it to be possible for someone to live here as a farmer, which implies a very minimal income. Regrettably, some of the early decisions we made (with the advice of co-housing consultants!) pushed us out of the affordable range where we'd prefer to be. We have homes right now that range from $125,000 to $250,000 -- I think our median price is probably *half* of what I've seen as an average on this list -- and STILL we're too expensive for many people who might consider living here. There are home designs out there (200-300 sq ft) where the whole construction costs would be less than our lot fee. Thus, when we look at a question of whether to include an elevator in our common house design, we come to a very different conclusion *despite* both conclusions arising from the same ideal. So, there have to be some other inputs to the process (different world views?) that lead to the different conclusions. When these questions come up, I think a lot about what our ancestors did 200 years ago before the industrial revolution. And I think about the lifestyles of those who lived where I do 300 years ago before our ancestors forced them out of their home. These lifestyles probably have more in common with each other than either does with the way we live today. 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. I'm afraid I'm too quick at leaping to this conclusion: that it's the same world-view that leads to the idea that veggies come from the store (not the farm), that the personal automobile is a "must-have", or that "sustainable growth" is not an oxymoron. I'd like to see some other ideas about this, hopefully ones that are less jaded than my default way of thinking. I suppose one useful outcome of this would be a better filter to help each of us find people who are a good fit for our respective communities, so that we start out closer to consensus because we don't have world views that differ so greatly. Best regards, Greg Nelson email: terramantra [at] gmail.com White Hawk Ecovillage phone: 607-273-2576 Ithaca, NY 14850 web: www.whitehawk.org ------------------------------ Message: 4 Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2012 13:40:09 -0400 From: Sharon Villines <sharon [at] sharonvillines.com> Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Different world-views in CoHo (was Re: Elevator Buildings) To: ghn [at] mercury.pgt.com, Cohousing-L <cohousing-l [at] cohousing.org> Message-ID: <F1F5EE15-EBA6-45A0-973F-97DD398C4887 [at] sharonvillines.com> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252 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 floor. 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 communities. 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 ---- Sharon Villines Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC http://www.takomavillage.org ------------------------------ Message: 5 Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2012 12:45:32 -0700 From: oz <oz [at] ozragland.com> Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Different world-views in CoHo (was Re: Elevator Buildings) To: ghn [at] mercury.pgt.com, Cohousing-L <cohousing-l [at] cohousing.org> Message-ID: <CABxy0hgn1aiLcbCSjaeMdnGJAOcab7etby-M69hfmMxbVHh4-w [at] mail.gmail.com> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1 Greg, these are interesting ideas. So much so that they lured me away from the work I'm "supposed" to be doing... I believe that while the industrial revolution is indeed dying in the United States, that its booming in many countries - fueled in part by globalization as capital flees from our "high" cost labor. I suspect that we'll continue to have larger disparities in income, i.e. the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. I doubt if the (somewhat rarefied) population of people who choose cohousing will be unable to run their elevators. For most cohousing developments, the founders somehow managed to frame the ideas, gather the resources, and pull together the people power required to successfully develop multi-million dollar housing projects. These folks can surely pull together to keep their elevators running. Many communities already use photo-voltaic solar to generate electricity and I understand that some produce more than they consume... I've heard that the per-person carbon footprint for people living in homes within large buildings is lower than single-family houses or duplexes or small rows of houses of comparable size and "green-ness." So, Coho-L, what do "you" think? On Fri, Jul 20, 2012 at 9:03 AM, Greg Nelson <ghn [at] mercury.pgt.com> wrote: -- clipped -- > 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. -- clipped -- ------------------------------ _________________________________________________________________ Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at: http://www.cohousing.org/cohousing-L/ End of Cohousing-L Digest, Vol 102, Issue 22 ********************************************
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