Re: [C-L] Pocket Neighborhood
From: Brian Bartholomew (
Date: Sat, 4 Jan 2020 14:23:17 -0800 (PST)
 Sharon Villines <sharon [at]> writes:

> This is why I think low income cohousing will happen when a group of
> low income households comes together to build housing affordable by
> low-income households.

I agree, and today we call that "family compounds". The low-end
version is made from a group of trailers which quietly exceed the
zoning density limit, on small cheap land in a poor county which can't
afford the code enforcement personnel to prosecute them. A larger
example was the Branch Davidians in Waco, TX, but they were too
visible and therefore targeted to be made an example of. Note there
is no rule that says low income cohousers must have fundamentalist
Christian or Mormon beliefs.

> That nothing will be done that can't be afforded by at least 60% or
> 90% of the members.

Right goal.

> And insists on equality.

Wrong implementation. What you want to insist on is low internal
taxation. Then people who want fancier faucets can't force a condo
assessment on people who don't. Driving along two-lane paved roads in
New Hampshire you'll see nice houses adjacent to not-nice houses.
Their wealth levels are not equal. But they are able to be neighbors
because they haven't constructed a voting tug-of-war about who gets to
force who to live in which class manner.

> I can also offer policing to keep the plans from escalating to soaring
> heights of "affordable" defined as 80% of market rate in the area.

Wrong implementation. The central planning of everyone-must-pay-this-
same-monthly-expenditure is the problem. Don't do that, and the
doctor can have her pool while the rest don't have to pay for it.

> What I can offer is to design and host a website and an email
> discussion group for those who are interested in giving sweat equity
> to build low-income cohousing.

The sweat equity is cheap and easy: recycle old trailers and portable
school buildings to one location, replace them with better structures
over time bought and built with cash. Repeat the social structures
Ron Ingram observed; the power tools, educational videos, and
electronic coordination has never been cheaper or more available.

Except that checking out of the rat race using thrifty housing is
twenty-seven forms of illegal. Preventing the rise of an independent
middle class is a legislative policy goal, always has been every time
and place in history. The nobles want serfs, not competitors.

Ron, get away from the coasts and the cities. The last place you will
find affordability is in city-density areas.


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