Re: Governance & Income Inequality [ was Common house design, rooms, and room sizes?
From: Richart Keller (
Date: Sun, 15 Feb 2015 06:42:29 -0800 (PST)
Affordable may be in the eye of the beholder for those wealthy enough to
have choices but not for the large proportion of folks in this country who
are "economically disadvantaged" by the greed and discriminatory tax and
power structure in this country.

If we view affordability through the lens of the HUD definitions, we are
ignoring the reality of it...

I for one do not want to live in or support a movement of gated communities.

I think that cohousing provides an opportunity to create communities whose
residents value diversity, if we are willing to base them on deeper values.

Rick Keller
 On Feb 8, 2015 11:24 AM, "Sharon Villines" <sharon [at]>

> On Feb 8, 2015, at 10:01 AM, Emilie Parker <emilie.v.parker [at]>
> wrote:
> > ​At Synergy Arts Cohousing in Louisville, Colorado need some advice for
> our
> > group about income inequality.  IT's going to be part of our cohousing
> > lives.  Our plan is to build 12 market price homes, 12 affordable homes,
> > and 12 affordable rentals for cohousing.  I would value your thoughts
> about
> > what we can do to make this work better in terms of setting up our
> > governance?
> I really happy to hear that you are planning rentals. We have had people
> move out because they couldn't afford to buy - the downpayment and bank
> requirements for income are just too high for many people to afford. They
> prefer to pay market rate rents.
> "Affordable" is in the eyes of the beholder. So it's hard to know what
> this is exactly. In many places it uses the "average market price" in the
> area which in our neighborhood is now about $400,000. Still expensive.
> But in terms of governance, I think it doesn't make a difference. Equal
> participation is the primary goal. Everyone should have equal access to
> determining the conditions under which they live and work. Push comes to
> shove when people have different aims. That's why I think low income
> cohousing communities need to be low income cohousing communities and not a
> mix of low cost units, "affordable" units, and market rate+ units.
> When one household values living at the same level as the straw building,
> no utilities village where they served in the Peace Corps and another is
> escaping that standard of living for a green middle class home, there is a
> conflict in aims that is likely to cause ongoing frustration for both.
> There is not likely be a win-win solution when common interest property
> requires each to live with and pay for the other's values.
> In terms of governance, the important first thing is to determine what the
> aims of group members are. Are you all going in the same direction? Are the
> differences in costs compatible? Making the aim tangible can be done by
> discussing examples and prices of fixtures and surface finishings. Examples
> of these are easy find with a group trip to Home Depot or looking at
> websites together.
> If you just ask "What do you value?" people can say the same words and
> mean entirely different things. "To live simply" for one means not living
> in a McMansion and for the other not living with more than 100 SF per
> person, even if they do accept some utilities as long as they exclude
> central heating and air conditioning.
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines
> Sociocracy: A Deeper Democracy
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