Re: Detroit Co Housing
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2015 05:49:14 -0700 (PDT)
> ...we are in need of assistance related to 'retrofitting an existing
> neighborhood' .   We have lived in our Detroit, Mi., neighborhood for over
> 40 years, and have been renovating houses on our block and adjacent blocks
> for the past 25.  Because of our 'urban' location, over the years those
> interested in cohousing have been reluctant to tackle the issues that go
> along with our location.

My dream for urban cohousing is a building with commercial space on the first 
floor, small rental apartments on the next floor, and cohousing on the top two 
floors and the roof.

Urban areas with dense populations need the services commercial spaces allow. 
In DC we have many people who come to town for 6-12 month internships or 
certification programs, legislators and staff who are here part time, etc. The 
opportunity to participate, even minimally in a more home-like environment, I 
think, would be attractive to many. A home away from home instead of a hotel 
room. And the extra cost of living in the city would be defrayed by the rental 
units and commercial spaces. 

i don’t know if Detroit has or will have the same need for temporary or short 
term housing but the combination of commercial and residential space would help 
restore the city as well as provide an interesting space for cohousing.

Eastern Village in Silver Spring is a good example of a community built in a 
former office building. Many opportunities for unique units with sunken living 
areas and lofts. Very high ceilings. One thing they did was put the various 
rooms of the commonhouse on different floors -- I think they have five. And 
seating areas with an overstuffed chair and books creating cozy areas to avoid 
the long sterile corridors.

It presents many more interesting possibilities than building from scratch. 
Things you would not have thought of until challenged.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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