|Affordability of cohousing||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Fred H Olson WB0YQM (fholsonmaroon.tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Fri, 2 Dec 94 12:02 CST|
Recently in a message to me, Jim McNeill, managing editor of the publication In These Times "the alternative newsmagazine" itt [at] igc.apc.org wrote: >I've always been under the impression that [cohousing has] been >limited mostly to fairly upscale families, but Joel insisted that this >wasn't this case. I'm eager to be disabused of my small-minded prejudice. My (Fred Olson's) response: Depending on what's meant by "upscale families", I would probably agree. Most people who have actually moved into cohousing in the U.S. have better than average incomes. Lots of things are easier to do with more money; however the ideas of cohousing appeal to people of all economic means. Some of us hope that in time more affordable cohousing communities can be developed. Similarly some of us hope this can be done in the urban core areas. New construction factor. To date cohousing has most often been implemented thru new construction which makes it fairly expensive. Hopes of a few years ago that savings could be made by shared facilities allowing smaller individual units have not happened to date. So far individual units have not been substantially smaller so costs of new construction have tended to be comparable to newly constructed townhouses. The cost is a function of what each group decides to build. Subsidies. The other way to reduce cost to residents is thru some sort of subsidy. To date this has not happened much either tho the Sacramento Calif Southside Park Cohousing Group is noteworthy. Some units were made "affordable" thru subsidized second mortgages for elgible residents. Shortage of money for subsidized housing generally makes it difficult to argue that cohousing should be subsidized. One hope is that the success of cohousing generally will influence the development of housing - subsidized and otherwise. Also cohousing is not primarily about architecture but rather about people designing and operating their community cooperatively. Subsidized housing generally has not allowed for this sort of involvement of residents. Thirdly housing subsidy bureacracies don't generally know how to work with mixed income comunities which cohousing groups often want to build. Cohousing in existing housing. Probably the best hope for more affordable cohousing is by converting existing housing to cohousing. But this is not easy either. Existing housing ususally is occupied and the conversion / transition can be difficult. The most notable example is the the N Street community in Davis California which evolved over a period of years and at some point decided that what it was doing was cohousing. Another example is the Cornerstones Community which hopes to buy 20 duplexes currently owned by one owner and rented. The Andersen Lane group that I was a part of gave up when we could not acquire all houses on a block in South Minneapolis; we were unwilling to undertake an evolutionary approach on that site. In conclusion, I'd say some cohousing activists are working to make cohousing happen for people of modest incomes with limited success. Too limited. In reviewing Cohousing-L messages, I read a message from earlier this year about a cohousing group with impressive low income goals; then I reviewed a recent (private) message from the same author. She is dropping out because she feels she will be unable to afford to live in the community based on current estimates. :( Fred -- Fred H. Olson fholson [at] uci.com (612)588-9532 Amateur radio: WB0YQM 1221 Russell Av N, Minneapolis, MN 55411 Sysop of || Twin Cities | COHOUSING-L listserv & gopherspace: gopher.uci.com or via || Freenet | EDIN gopher in Calif * now Cohousing-WWW (see gopher for url) || 1/95 |4AI
- Affordability of cohousing Fred H Olson WB0YQM, December 2 1994
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