Re: John Trudell and why not park models?
From: Ann Zabaldo (
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2013 13:34:29 -0700 (PDT)
HI Racheli!  How nice to hear from you!  How are things at Sonora these days?  
(Sonora, right? My aging brain sometimes gets confused ...)

Sorry to disagree with you, however  ...  even in Mother Nature there are no 
free lunches.

And that's true in every society no matter how civilized or not.  Every 
decision you make kills off something else.  That's the root of the word 
"decide" -- to kill off.  No free lunches.

Rather than debate how society SHOULD be I'd rather look at the opportunities 
for taking advantage of what is available and go for that.  As a number of 
people have pointed out ... there are many opportunities for creating 
cohousing.  Go for one that fits your goals and vision.

Best --

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

On Aug 8, 2013, at 2:03 PM, Racheli Gai wrote:

> It's true that there are no "free lunches" (except if you are a big and ugly 
> corporation), but if we lived in a civilized country, our tax money would be 
> going to help people have truly affordable housing, instead of supporting the 
> various industrial complexes our govts. subsidize ("defense", prisons, 
> agro-business,  ...  you get the idea.)
> Racheli.
> On Aug 8, 2013, at 9:09 AM, Ann Zabaldo wrote:
>> 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.
>> Look.  
>> 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
>> 703-688-2646
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