Re: Elevators and exclusions
From: David Heimann (
Date: Tue, 20 May 2008 19:26:15 -0700 (PDT)


Ah, the implications of different designs. Here at Jamaica Plain Cohousing we built our structure as essentially a single U-shaped building around a courtyard, with entry to the units via an external corridor/deck/balcony going around the inside of the U on each floor. In that way a single elevator by the common house was all we needed to gain visitability to all the units, no matter what floor they were on.

An interest result of this is that for us, the units that sold last *were* in fact first-story units!

David Heimann
JP Cohousing

Date: Mon, 19 May 2008 17:20:58 -0400
From: Elizabeth Magill <pastorliz [at]>
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Elevators and exclusions
To: Cohousing-L <cohousing-l [at]>
Message-ID: <E81B8A54-908F-4CF9-AC21-E15A4C871149 [at]>
Content-Type: text/plain;       charset=US-ASCII;       delsp=yes;      

If you
build flats, all the ground floor flats are accessible without an
and all the second floor units could be accessible with a single
and a balcony connecting them.

Yeah, I was going to add that one elevator for the entire community
presumes extremely close homes. Our duplexes and triplexes are
certainly close to each other (10-15 feet I think) but a single
elevator would be hard-pressed to suffice, and adding balconies to
connect even four or five buildings would be expensive and a long
journey for some homes.

We looked at plans that put all flats at one end of the neighborhood,
but we really wanted to be more integrated, large households and small.

Also, with the goal of 100% visitable for people with disabilities we
were able to almost achieve that by having mostly town houses. We
have two 1BR flats that are not visitable, but all other units are
both visitable, and adaptable after move-in for first floor
accessible living.

As we get down to the last few units to sell, I often wish all
remaining the 2BRs were flats, because we have interested parties
that would like already accessible units. But then I'm reminded by
others that it is unlikely that it would be the first floor units
left to sell at the end!

We also considered a mix of flats and TH, but that would have
increased the number of building types, which then would increase the
cost of the project.

The whole process was much more complicated than I ever imagined in
my visioning of a totally accessible community!

(And then we can talk about the work to have low VOC construction!)

Elizabeth M. Magill
Mosaic Commons Cohousing, Berlin, MA
I'm moving in this fall! Join me! 2 and 4BR homes available.

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