|Regenerative Villages & Affordable Cohousing||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Sharon Villines (sharonsharonvillines.com)|
|Date: Sun, 2 May 2021 17:00:43 -0700 (PDT)|
I attended the conference I posted about a few days ago—late notice and I knew none of the people but I took a chance. It was wonderful. The biggest takeaway is that in order to build low cost cohousing, we need to think bigger. Doing it with 30 units is too small to cover all the fixed construction costs like expert advice, permitting, etc. There are just some things that don’t get cheaper with size. The other reason is that a larger project is more likely to be eligible for a wider range of funding. The Regenerative Village model is basically cohousing on steroids. Some people are building off grid but the most exciting projects are large — village size with a school, shops, permaculture, food growing systems, etc. Two (at least) speakers detailed the process of developing a plan that can be presented to investors. How to do it and what to avoid. Very specific presentation by Franco Capurra who has been financing regenerative villages for 9 years. He has had several companies that invest in sustainable real estate with a purpose projects. https://www.linkedin.com/in/francocapurro/?originalSubdomain=mx He is doing something very interesting now in the US. He finds apartment buildings, finds investors, purchases and rehabs the buildings with people in place, and then begins an education plan about village living, sustainability, etc. What others here have talked about in terms of buying a small apartment building and turning it into cohousing over time as people leave. He does all this professional level business and investment plans paying 5% dividends and money can be withdrawn in 5 years. The only issue he came up against was the the interested investors were Republicans. He saiid he finally resolved that for himself by realizing that if you want to convince the world about the importance of regenerativity, starting with Republicans is a good place. And you convince Republicans with return on investment. One of the advantages of cohousing is that we have a model that is very successful and has been duplicated many times. I haven’t heard of any communities that have failed once they reached construction. We know all the pieces that work and why. The issue of scale is important but the rest has been tested. And Capurro himself has now tested a larger model even if he doesn’t call it cohousing. His buildings are also rentals because of legal issues related to certifying investors. He has worked out a non-profit/business model so the residents control the building. The other talk I found most interesting was by a futurist from Australia, Tony Hunter, who spoke about Resilient Food! Greenhouses, Vertical Farms, Automation. Basically space age buildings, relatively tall and large — geodesic dome looking — in which food is grown all around inside the building. This brings nature inside to the people instead of people out to the country to nature. He gave a lot of figures on people moving to cities. That’s where they want to be and they will move there no matter what — they will just be miserable unless the housing issues are solved. One repeated message was that we need to do more with less. What is the most efficient way to produce high quality food? Hydroponics. I’ve been reading about this in other places--guaranteed quality, organic, and uses 3 times less water. The lobby of one of his buildings grows broccoli and an office grows hanging plants from planter over head. Trees on balconies up the whole side of the building clean the air, provide shade, and create restfulness. Being dependent on technology makes me uncomfortable but people are installing back up systems. And unless we can get people to adopt a one child policy, people are multiplying too fast for any other option than technology. I wanted to ask if the pandemic had made any dent in population growth but it is probably too soon to tell. Other authors have suggested that the plagues in Europe brought great wealth to countries by reducing people who required food, etc. They regularly balanced the population and resources. In looking at low-cost housing, I found that there are tons of ways to build safe and secure low cost housing but zoning won’t allow it. If you build out in the country there is no zoning but you have the added costs of running electricity and water and sewers to the buildings. And even roads. But the the biggest problem is jobs — there just aren’t a lot of jobs out in the desert — and commuting makes the advantage of affordable housing mute. In the city the only direction, as Alan Ohashi has said, is UP. Tony Hunter says the same thing and has examples of this being done and avoiding the sterile office tower feeling of most condo buildings with 30 stories of offices pretending to be homes. And even more exciting, I hope, is that all this gives life to an idea I’ve been playing with for years but had no idea how to even begin: Buy a building in the center or near center of the city and put commercial on the first floor and cohousing upstairs. The Regenerative Village concept looks at the community as a whole — food supply, energy production, etc. A whole building allows putting the shops that everyone wants/needs on the first floor — places to buy milk on Sunday morning, vegetables everyday, and other services like medical offices, daycare, tech support, hardware store, etc. It would supply what most residents of city centers are finding missing: plain old everyday shopping. In DC if not other cities there is also a need for safe short-term rentals for young people or scholars who are here for fellowships, internships, or on research grants. They need something like a one room micro unit with 3-24 month leases. The second floor could be made up of these, perhaps with some larger units for those with children. We have rented to at least 2 of those— one from Germany with 4 children and one from Spain with a child and a dog. The first two floors would thus provide income for the community. Depending on the size of the building, another floor could be the CH with some amenities on each floor, like laundry facilities. A large project like that would seem to be attractive to investors and would make it possible to hire the expert help to convince them of the viability of the project. I don’t know if people can join the conference after the fact by paying for access to the videos but they will all be online. 3 days of one hour videos. Some were on meditation and personal growth and some were not very good, but there were enough good ones to be worth $95. And the materials are also online to download. Right now I’m out of brain width. Sharon ——— Sharon Villines Affordable Cohousing begins with 30% of your income, not 80% of someone else's. http://affordablecohousing.com affordablecohousing [at] groups.io To subscribe: affordablecohousing+subscribe [at] groups.io
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