Lot development model and community
From: Lynn Nadeau / Maraiah (welcomeolympus.net)
Date: Sat, 17 Jan 2015 09:52:25 -0800 (PST)
> In my experience how often people walk to gathering nodes etc or talk
> casually when they see each other coming and going is quite sensitive
> to distance (and stair steps).  How compact and what size are
> communities using the lot development model compared to other
> communities?

RoseWind Cohousing, long-built in Port Townsend WA, is a lot-development model. 
And very do-it-yourself. We had more time than money. No financing, all out of 
pocket. The first 8 buy-ins paid for the land (without owning it we couldn't 
redesign the zoning on it, to a Planned Unit Development), the next 8 paid for 
the infrastructure (without which the City wouldn't let us build), and the last 
8 brought in the money for the Common House, built 15 years ago. 

Not ideal, in that it took many years. But doing it together, we developed 
strong personal connections. And it allowed us to happen at all, given that we 
didn't have the money or the people up front to do it differently. 

The question raised in this post was the effect of having single-family houses, 
relatively spread-out, on interactions. We have 24 home sites on half of our 9 
acres, the other half being commons. Most sites are 5000 sq ft, a typical lot 
size in town. But we have far more interaction than a typical town 
neighborhood. Many of our lots face on a central common area that includes our 
big food gardens and children's playground. Twice a week, one might see a dozen 
of us working together in the garden. Two evenings a week will find the 
majority of those on site attending a community meal. Every day, the foyer of 
the common house -- even though it is on one edge of the property-- sees most 
of us passing through for mail pick up, and exchanging items in our cubbies, 
checking the bulletin boards, etc. Pedestrian paths wind through our site and 
we talk to each other as walkers pass by, walking dogs, or heading to or from 
the Common House or nearby places in town. From my house, I can see many of the 
other homes: whose lights are on, what cars are in the driveway, and other 
clues as to what's going on. 

So, while surely different from attached units, our spread-out arrangement has 
still allowed plenty of interaction. 

Maraiah Lynn Nadeau
www.rosewind.org
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