Re: John Trudell and why not park models?
From: Ann Zabaldo (
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2013 09:10:54 -0700 (PDT)
Hello Marsha and all --

Are you talking about what we used to call "mobile home or trailer parks?"  
These are great models of cohousing -like development.  "Manufactured housing" 
a.k.a. "mobile or trailer homes" have come a very long way since the '50's and 
'60's.  Now, the wheels are just used to move the home to the building site 
from whence it never moves again.  

Manufactured housing is an option I've talked about for a long, long time.  I 
met a man at the 2012 conference in Oakland, CA (another good reason to attend 
coho conferences!) who is converting a former campground to cohousing and also 
a mobile home park.  These are great options. AND ...  as at least two people 
have pointed out there are trade offs.  They are rural or way out of town.  
There are zoning regulations in most cities that prohibit mobile home parks.

I thank Rebecca Lane for pointing out that cohousing is NOT a financing model.  
She suggests using a Community Land Trust to gain affordability.  This is an 
excellent alternative.  BUT this is not free either.  Someone has to put up the 
money to fund the CLT.  Generally, a municipality.  So move where there is an 
active CLT and start a cohousing community there.


Nobody gets a free lunch in development.  The money comes from somewhere.  
Affordable housing is subsidized by taxpayers.  Your house may be "low cost" or 
"below market"  to you but someone paid the difference between what you can 
afford and what it cost to build the home.  You say you can afford a $200K 
home.  How much cash do you have to fund the development process?  Getting a 
mortgage to buy a home is only one very small part of the development process.  
Someone has to put up the MILLIONS -- yes, MILLIONS -- of dollars to get the 
project started.  Takoma Village in DC was a $6.5 million project; Eastern 
Village was a $15 million project.  Who put up that money?  If you're just 
getting a mortgage ... that's great but that's the end of the process.

What I hear you saying Marsha (and others) is that you feel sad and even angry 
at not being able to afford the cohousing communities you see built or being 
built.  This is a way of life you want so much and yet ... not able to get in 
the door.  Very frustrating.  Very frustrating indeed.  It's annoying at the 
very least, confusing and angering at the other end.

However, there ARE alternatives for you as people on this list have pointed 
out.  Daybreak has a house under $200K.    You can do retrofit cohousing as a 
group in the DC area wants to do -- DC is a very very high rent area of the 
country.  Yet, this model may very well make it possible for this group to 
create their community.  The trade off is:  time.  Since they don't have money 
to develop a site from scratch they will take their time to create a community 
as houses become available in a single neighborhood.    And they will not be 
living on Foxhall Rd with the Cafritzes and Bennets.  Richmond, VA is a sweet 
little city with every amenity of a large urban population.  There is a lot of 
good housing stock already available in the city. And there is an active group 
there.  As I've already mentioned,  Baltimore is another city that has been on 
a major marketing binge for many years to attract people to rehab urban homes.  
They have classes, workshops, financing, etc etc etc.  They are set up for 
first time homebuyers and ready to do business with you.   As a city 
government, they are doing everything they can to get people to move to B'more. 
 Plus it's just 45 mins. by train to DC.  Many people live in B'more and work 
in DC.  And ... o my goodness ... Florida.  A zillion town homes for sale ... 
still.  Take your pick.

I still believe that retro fit cohousing is the best alternative for being able 
to create a cohousing community over time with little or no upfront money 
beyond the individual homeowner's mortgage.  Plus, it's environmentally 
sustainable in every sense of the word.  You can live in your home right away 
and upgrade your home as money becomes available to you.

I urge you to take advantage of this list, ask for people who believe as you do 
to step forward and find out if there is a location of the country to which you 
are wiling to move that is not one of the "high rent" districts such as San 
Francisco, Washington DC, Boston, NYC,  Boulder, Denver, etc.

Just making an intuitive leap here ... my thinking is ... that this all must 
seem completely overwhelming to you.  Where to start?  How to start?  The 
process seems daunting.  Just trying to find people seems daunting.  Start w/ 
little steps -- find out who is out there, where you want to live, how much you 
can afford, how much cash you will need ...  There are professionals who are 
willing to help you, can save you lots of time and money but you have to have 
money to hire them.

No free lunches.

Best --

Ann Zabaldo
Takoma Village Cohousing
Washington, DC
Principal, Cohousing Collaborative, LLC
Falls Church VA

On Aug 7, 2013, at 11:57 PM, Marsha Beesen wrote:

> “It’s like there is this predator energy on this planet, and this predator 
> energy feeds on the essence of the spirit.” 
> ― John Trudell
> Why not Park Models? People may think theory are ugly but there are some cute 
> ones. What is the most important thing in Cohousing anyway? Not the type of 
> house but the community and the common house. If 30 people bought 30 park 
> models then set them all up then everyone pitch in and build the common house 
> (as the Amish do) wouldn't that cut the costs? Composting toliets and ponds 
> for grey water. They've made it work much less expensively at Earthaven 
> Ecovillage.
> Anyway more thoughts and to stay on track!
> Sent from Marsha's iPhone
> _________________________________________________________________
> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at: 

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.