Re: Different world-views in CoHo
From: marganne (
Date: Thu, 2 Aug 2012 23:34:50 -0700 (PDT)
On Aug 2, 2012, at 4:47 AM, cohousing-l-request [at] wrote:

> I would be very interested to hear about a community built around the small 
> house movement ? these are 600 SF and less.

I would too. Over the years, the movement has grown.

> I think the 200 SF homes are unrealistic for adults with complex lives on a 
> 24/7 basis.?

There are many more people now who feel the advantages of living small outweigh 
the larger-area requirements of adults with complex lives on a 24/7 basis. It's 
a major shift in thinking.

> 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.

Although I can't quote the source, people devoted to the small house movement 
have made progress in this area -- changes in the building codes rather than an 
increase in zoning exemptions. Iowa City, Iowa and Portland, Oregon appear to 
be in the forefront of this.

It's possible that financing a small house cohousing project is a bigger hurdle 
than dealing with building codes.

There's a complex set of tradeoffs with small housing communities and 
affordability. Land in outlying areas tends to be less expensive. Reducing 
square footage generally increases affordability. A long commute for work 
increases the carbon footprint and expenses. Until a small house community 
project is built, the balancing act may stay theoretical.

> ...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.

People interested in forming projects that radically differ from existing 
cohousing communities have floated in and out of this list for many, many 
years. They are scattered geographically and by interest -- low-income, 
permaculture, community living, the small house movement, and others.

It's a major shift in thinking. Could the National Cohousing Association 
provide and promote a lightening rod that draws people like this together? 


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