|Panama Cohousing Village Announcemen||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: John Leet (jwleetaol.com)|
|Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2013 21:54:29 -0700 (PDT)|
We dedicated this past year to developing a group to build a cohousing village in Panama. The experience convinced us that whatever the problem, community is the answer. We are currently seeking a community in which to spend the last active years of our lives. This past Spring, when our group discussions began to focus on the economic realities, the group collapsed. We found that most were simply not ready or able to commit funds. We could not purchase the land we were considering or move forward on planning. Many co-housing communities have gone through these same blips in development. It has taken many 7 to 10 years or longer to develop. Completing such a project in a foreign country adds many other issues to the process. We have decided that we do not have 7 to 10 years to devote to planning and completion. We want to involved in community living now, not a long time in the future. Jayne and I have, therefore, abandoned our efforts to create cohousing in Panama, and are searching for at least a partially established community, one with basic cohousing principals, that we can move into. For weather reasons, our search is focusing on the Southwestern part of the US. Within that region, we are focusing on Tucson and Austin. We have just returned from 10 days in Tucson, and found housing communities that meet our criteria. Our first priority is to join a community in which we feel comfortable. After that is done, we may explore the possibility of creating a cohousing type group within an existing community. Our discussions in the planning group related to the problems that will face all of us as we age: health care, mobility, sustainability, leaving a smaller ecological footprint, support in moments of need, finding others with whom to share our enthusiasm for the things we love, friendship, contribution to community, intergenerational participants, security, etc. We enjoyed the variety of people that participated in the group at any given time over this past year. The discussions always confronted the issues with energy While Panama offers a wonderful climate during the winter months, and this was very appreciated by those of us from the US or Canada. Community, crime and security issues, and long term livability are more important than weather. We wanted to build a community in the balmy breezes of Panama, but after a year of work, it is clear that there are questions for us as to whether Panama is the best place for this to happen. While we still love Panama, after 7 years we have become more concerned about safety. One of the positive aspects that Panama offered, was an inexpensive community. Many of the cohousing villages in the US are expensive: normally $250,000 and on up. The cost is approximately the same as the cost of home in that location, plus a premium for the common area. Panama was also a location that did not require heat or much A/C cost. We are seeking a geographic location that will minimize utility costs, has warm temperatures, and low housing costs. One type of housing that we are looking at, and that attracts many senior snowbirds is the Manufactured Home Park, mixed home park, or RV park. Many of these are quite reasonable. These communities have a cohousing feel to them. With some adjustments they could become cohousing that provides community where the residents age in community until end of life among their friends. These adjustments would include a few simple elements: Creating a complex with member ownership; Enhancing the community building to provide for regular meals and activities; Creating a self government to go with the self ownership. To this end, we are now searching for other possible suitable locations. We are focusing on finding a suitable MHP/ RV park or potential complex/village in the areas I mentioned. Some residents may join in our future efforts. Some may want winters only initially, but in time, it will become necessary for all of us to remain in one location all year. We don't want anyone to be forced to relocate to their original homes, hoping they will find the support they need, but most likely will not find. Here is a link to an insightful article I found in Utne reader, reprinted from Pacific Standard Magazine: http://www.psmag.com/health/how-the-trailer-park-could-save-us-all-55137/ Besides weather, there are other factors in choosing a location, These include access to shopping, educational facilities that offer classes, cultural activities, crime prevention measures, and gatherings for the public. If you look at places to retire in one of the popular magazines, you will see the factors. If you are looking for affordable cohousing, ready and willing to make a reasonable financial commitment in stages, and this make sense to you, let us know of your interest. You can send me a personal email at jwleet [at] aol.com. I will respond to your personal questions about Panama or your interest in what we do next. At this point, Jayne and I will remove ourselves from this website. We will see if anyone in the group or others wish to pursue a further collaboration on co-housing in Panama. If not we will close down the website. This was a journey well spent for us. To your active life and good health, John and Jayne Leet jwleet [at] aol.com
- Panama Cohousing Village Announcemen John Leet, September 20 2013
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