Re: Cohousing Pioneers: Second Round
From: Fred-List manager (
Date: Wed, 25 Dec 2013 05:47:22 -0800 (PST)
Gary Storm gary [at]
is the author of the message below.  It was posted by
Fred, the Cohousing-L list manager <fholson [at]>
due to html only post.
--------------------  FORWARDED MESSAGE FOLLOWS --------------------

Thanks Bob (Morrison) and Phillip (Dowds) for your responses.
Bob, you did a great job of describing why retirees with experience living in
cohousing communities are often in a good position to make contributions to the
development of new cohousing communities, but you misinterpreted me in saying
"that retired cohousers (and others) would sell their home(s), move to the
Ozarks, and live in rental housing for a year or two while they found their new
community." No, I am hoping that experienced cohousers would sell their homes,
move to the Ozarks, and invest in new homes of their own that would actually
establish a new cohousing community. Once they broke ground in the new
community, the experienced cohousers would then be in an ideal position to
recruit others to the community and help guide them through the development
process. In short, I am hoping that pioneers in the original cohousing movement
can be encouraged to take up the cause again in today's difficult financial
environment by using their accumulated capital and cohousing experience to
catalyze development of new cohousing communities.

The variant that I discussed would simply have cohousers (retired or not) who
are interested in building second homes in attractive vacation/retirement areas
do so by helping establish new cohousing communities in these locations, perhaps
renting their new homes on a full- or part-time basis when they do not need/want
them for vacation or retirement purposes themselves. Ideally, these new
cohousing communities would be inhabited by a mix of permanent and part-time
residents living and working in them, some owning their own homes and others
renting from absentee cohousing owners. As in the example above, experienced
cohousers would play a major role in kick-starting the development of new
cohousing communities through their capital investments and the wisdom/guidance
they could provide to others.
Phillip, I appreciate the concern you and others raise about becoming too
dependent on older, retired
(or soon to retire) individuals to finance and provide social leadership in
developing--and later maintaining--new cohousing communities. I, too, have
reservations about the viability of purely "senior" cohousing projects, although
I think we are learning more and more about how such communities can function
A careful reading of my proposals will show that I want to capitalize on the
accumulated financial capital and social intelligence/leadership skills that
older, experienced and often retired cohousers can contribute to the development
of new cohousing communities, but ideally I would like to see them facilitate 
development of new communities that are diverse in terms of residents' ages;
educational backgrounds; income levels; racial, national and cultural
backgrounds;and other characteristics.

I see small groups of these experienced cohousing pioneers serving as "advance
teams" of early developers of new cohousing communities all across the country
and world, especially in locations (e.g., rural or relatively isolated
environments of significant natural beauty that are attractive as
vacation/retirement destinations) where there may not be a large enough
population of year-round employed persons, especially professionals, to support
what have emerged as "typical" cohousing communities. In such settings, these
advance teams would have work especially hard at developing affordable housing
that is within reach of indigenous working and lower middle class individuals
and families. In my mind, this is what is needed to develop one or more viable
cohousing community at Lake of the Ozarks where I am concentrating my efforts.

I look forward to continuing this dialogue on several fronts. Given Phillip's
reservations about maintaining a balance among age groups in cohousing
communities, would it be a mistake for me to try to recruit a significant number
of retired (or soon to retire) persons to form one or more cohousing community
at The Woodland Community? How do you advocates of "senior cohousing" think
about this matter?

Gary Storm
See website at

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