Sustainable Cohousing
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 10 Jan 2020 12:46:00 -0800 (PST)
I haven’t disappeared but need to take a few days off to clear my brain a bit. 
I’m knitting for the rescued animal babies in Australia. A very nice break. 
This site has all the information if you are so inclined. They don’t need Koala 
mittens but still need bat wraps and Joey pouches.

On low-income housing, I’ve gotten as far as setting up an email discussion 
list and a website.

sustainablecohousing [at]

There are sign up forms on the website for the discussion group and to be 
notified about website updates — and not much else. I’ve been working on the 
design. The nav menu gives you and idea of what I’m thinking. Info on 
construction techniques. Pages on developing communities. Personal stories. 
Housing statistics — in history and around the world which can be very 
enlightening and mind-changing.

There is no intention of diluting the conversation on Cohousing-L. A website 
provides a place to store information and a discussion list gives people with 
the same goal, a place to find each other and share ideas. It focuses the 
topic. Just like Cohousing-L focuses on cohousing.

I would like the focus to be strictly in the range of trying to develop 
ownership models at 50% of the median house price in the area. Not on 
permanently subsidized housing. And not drifting up to "well, we tried but …" 
It’s part of my conviction that you can’t do more than one thing at a time. 
Building market rate housing is not the same as changing concepts of 
“necessary” in order to address low-income and young people’s needs, and saying 
no to expensive add-ons that creep in. 

One reason I would like to avoid the subsidized housing direction was expressed 
in an article about Ashton Hayes, a small village in Cheshire, that decided to 
go carbon neutral on their own. They did have expert advice from a scientist at 
a local college and he measured and documented their progress. They said they 
never asked the government nor any public agency for support because it would 
dilute their focus. It would bring other egos into the project — publicity as 
well. Too much energy would be spent on government regulations and pleading, 
and not on just getting down to work.

A website as a guide to government subsidies and other federally financed 
schemes would be helpful but it would be deadly boring to assemble and would 
take a staff of 500 to keep up to date. And resources like lawyers to fight 
discriminatory programs. We could easily go off to the moon with no housing 
ever getting built in our generation.

Do sign up for the lists so you can keep up to date. I'll put up an introduce 
yourself page soon. In the meantime, think knitted baby bird nests.

Sharon Villines
sustainablecohousing [at]

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