From: Fred H Olson (
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2001 08:39:02 -0600 (MDT)
On Wed, 13 Jun 2001, Kevin Wolf kjwolf [at] wrote:

> Chuck is right that the resident-driven design process creates 
> community.  But community can be created without this.

Kevin, thanks for the response that says much of what I was thinking.

The resident-driven design process is the dominant way of building
community in cohousing.
The resident-driven design process particularly when combined wtih the
Streamlined Model of Development of cohousing ( see )
may be the "easiest" and "best" way.  But is not likely to be the lowest
cost way. (tho that depends on the housing market ...)

The main alternative way to develop cohousing is often called "retrofit
cohousing" - evolving toward cohousing like community in existing housing
the way N street did.

I would argree that Chuck's "speculative cohousing project" is not
cohousing but I would argue that it is possible it could evolve toward
cohousing.  Probably from a core of those initial residents who are
"enthusiastic about cohousing and cooperating with their neighbors" doing
a lot of organizing and recruiting when there is trunover.  Not likely to
happen, a lot of work and would take time; but possible.  Indeed if it
happened it would fit my definition of "retrofit cohousing".

Clearly retrofit development does have problems, but it is possible.  I am
aware of two retrofit cohousing communities who have folded in the last
year or two.  In both cases, bad feelings and differences of opinions seem
to have made folks reluctant to discuss the details.  Too bad, it would be
nice to learn from our failures.

Chuck, I certainly agree that "speculative cohousing project" is not
cohousing, but lets leave the backdoor way of developing cohousing
(retrofit cohousing) open a crack.


Fred H. Olson  fholson [at]    Minneapolis,MN   55411
(612)588-9532  Amateur radio: WB0YQM          List manager of:
Cohousing-L and Nbhd-tc (Twin Cities Neighborhood issues list)
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