Alice Alexander's blog

In Community: You Need Not Reinvent the Wheel

Mountain View Cohousing, California
Trudeslund, Denmark

Cohousing in Denmark was catapulted into success with the collaboration of the very capable architect Jan Gudmand Hoyer and the architectural firm Vandkunsten. Their idea was inspired by the article titled "Children Should Have One Hundred Parents," by Bodil Graae. Using a village model they created a cohousing community that invited its residents to live autonomously but together -- making the thesis of the article a reality. When the community was completed, a multitude of visitors walked into that village and said to themselves, "Now I could live here. I'm going to go home and make one of these in my town."

What's it Like to Grow Up in Cohousing? Fairies and Friendship

One of my favorite pastimes is to build fairy houses in the woods with my friend Ally. We design and build houses out of materials we find in the woods- like pine cones and bark. We’ve become rather skilled at it and have been working on a mini cohousing village called Redwood Village. It is complete with a common house and several other structures. Ally and I have been improving this particular fairy village for nearly a year, and when there is nice weather, we go out and work on it. Last weekend, we got a surprise.

Aging Alone: The place to start when seeking a cohousing community

When aging alone and assessing places to live, the first thought an individual has, “How can I create an environment where I’m safe, independent, and not isolated?” That’s usually followed by, “And can I afford it:”

It’s a collective thought that’s heard in the elder orphans Facebook group designed for people like me, over sixty and growing older without a spouse, partner, or grown children. It’s quite a predicament that close to 30 percent of the 60 and over population face in U.S. metros.

Sociocracy Leadership Training

The use of sociocracy as the governance system and form of decision making in communities is growing. In the last few weeks I have talked to members of Champlain Valley Cohousing, Ten Stones Cohousing and East Village Cohousing in Vermont, Belfast Cohousing in Maine, Cambridge Cohousing in Massachusetts all of whom use some or most of the elements of sociocracy.

Global Compassion: Cohousing is Part of the Movement

I’m back from Star Island off the coast of New Hampshire – a week long intentional community of 300 - where I took a workshop on “global compassion.” I’m personally motivated to help create a society of caring, that puts compassion into action, that can reach across the globe to reduce human suffering, address food and water shortages, heal divides, alleviate climate change – and create joy!

Cohousing: Potential to Provide Well Built Homes at Lower Cost

For those people following this thread on affordability… the issue of affordability is not limited to cohousing. For anyone considering new construction of any sort, you will do well to build for $180 per sf or less (and that takes modular construction options into account). In addition to the actual construction of your unit and the common space, you have to pay for site work, not to mention actually buying the land you will be building on....One way cohousers reduce cost is that the developer’s fee (15% is not unusual) if often waived when one or more “burning souls” decide that it is so important to build that they will do the work a professional developer does for no cost (this is not a path I have seen work well, but it is a way some groups save money)....

Community is More than the Building

It’s been a long six years and a particularly long last six months but we’ve finally arrived. Persistence pays off! We moved into CHUC (Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing) on June 14, 2016.....We’re still in the start-up phase where we’re settling in and figuring out how to live together with our different styles and preferences and how to get all the work done while holding down jobs and nurturing families.

Cohousing Costs Exactly the Same as "Regular" Housing

Philip Dowds is responding to a coho-l inquiry: is cohousing really a lot more expensive than a similar but bigger house in a somewhat equivalent middle or slightly upper-middle class neighborhood?

I always look at this one differently: Cohousing costs exactly the same as “regular” housing....Turn the question around: How much housing can we afford? ....Cohousing is hardly an “elite” enterprise; I don’t have much sociology to back this up, but I am guessing that most “elites” are looking for privacy and “luxury”, not community. Nonetheless, cohousing strikes many shoppers as “expensive” because …
(1) The private residence portion feels “small” compared to a some single family units around the corner.
(2) There isn’t much to choose from (yet). And,
(3) Average housing cost in general is rising faster than average household income, particularly in “good” locations.

Importance of the Common House

Elements that emphasize the social aspects of community are of highest priority. Without these elements a cohousing community will be little more than a traditional residential development. In fact, the success of a cohousing community depends upon the “common” realm — the places where residents come together for socializing, creating, or just saying hello. These everyday acts are what keep residents connected. When buildings are scattered across a landscape, the Common House gets very little use and the sense of community is diluted.

Cohousing Communities in Minneapolis Growing: Charles Durrett Presenting 9-15-16

Minneapolis, MN – Residents in Minneapolis are looking to cohousing as a way to improve neighborhoods and community. Developer and previous Minneapolis resident, Dale Joel, along with McCamant & Durrett Architects | The Cohousing Company, are working with several groups in the area who have already expressed interest.

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