Re: Affordability, doability
From: Ann Zabaldo (
Date: Mon, 19 May 2008 19:21:38 -0700 (PDT)
Hello Jane!

It's so very nice to hear from you and to hear that your situation has
worked out so well.  I miss you in too expensive Washington, DC!  I
love it that you are still on this list, too.

I think you're pointing to something really important that my former
housemate, Tina, used to interject and still does interject when I'm
wound up in my vision of creating cohousing communities by the
zillions.  She says:  if you put just 25% of the effort into the
community around you that you live in NOW that  you are using to
create a whole new community you might be surprised at the outcome.

Yes, it's true that people come to cohousing because they want to be
good neighbors and to have a more "tactile" feeling about community
and belonging so it seems easier.  But lots n' lots of other people
living in all sorts of developments across the country also want
"community."   I think we just get put off by the people we meet who
seem as if they don't want what we want in community.

A good friend of mine moved into a brand spanking new condo 3 years
ago. She's a very friendly, outgoing extreme extrovert.   She just
moved from there because there was no sense of neighborliness and
people weren't very friendly.  She moved to another brand spanking new
condo where she found many, many, many people not only interested in
creating community but doing it.  The first day one of her neighbors
volunteered to look after her dog during the day while she was at
work.  A second neighbor volunteered for doggie daycare on the
weekends she is out of town.  She was immediately invited to a bunch
of social activities.

For any community to "work" there have to be two actions:  a hand
extended in friendship by one person and a hand taken in friendship by
the second person.  One who offers and one who receives.  And then
reciprocates.  And you can get this in communities other than
cohousing.    Living in cohousing is a LOT of work.  Sometimes that
bungalow on a dead end street starts to look mighty inviting ...  :-)

Be well, Jane!

Ann Z.

Ann Zabaldo
Takoma Village Cohousing
Washington, DC
Principal, Cohousing Collaborative, LLC
McLean, VA
Voice 703-663-3911
Fax 202-291-8594

On Mon, May 19, 2008 at 9:38 PM, Jane O'Brien <janeobrien [at]> 
>> various options like being willing to live in an area of the country
>> where prices for land and construction are cheaper.
> I took this suggestion and combined it with an idea from Sharon Villines: 
> that people in condos and other situations are looking for an old-fashioned 
> neighborhood experience and that it might be easier or more possible to 
> creste that than to find/build cohousing for oneself.
> I moved about two years ago, luckily at the height of the real estate boom, 
> from Washington, DC to Cincinnati, OH.  At the time the cost of living here 
> was 42% less than DC; it's now "only" 34% less. I found a small 1925 cottage 
> on a tiny street with just 9 houses, and (more luck!) found two folks on the 
> street also interested in building a "neighborhood" feel.

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