Alice Alexander's blog

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.

Diverse Personalities: Let’s get personal with cultural competency - Part III

Read Alan's first two blog on this topic Do you proactively de-escalate ‘diverse’ personalities in your life? and Dealing with diverse personalities: Risk vs Protective Factors - Part II

Remember the climax of the “Wizard of Oz” when Dorothy gets herself back to Kansas? Good Witch of the North Glinda lets Dorothy in on the secret that she’s always had the way to return home.

Joani Blank, Cohousing Pioneer - Stories of her Impact and Influence

Joani Blank, a cohousing pioneer, passed on August 6, 2016. Coho/US is collecting stories of her impact and influence, posted below. Please email me if you would like to add to.
Alice Alexander, Coho/US Executive Director
aliceCohoUS [at] gmail [dot] com

7/29/16 from Susan Hedgpeth

Dear Joani,

Joani Blank, Cohousing Pioneer, Passed August 6, 2016

Neil Planchon, long time friend and neighbor of Joani Blank at Swan's Market Cohousing, is sharing sad news of her passing, below. Along with appreciating the amazing person she was, we are all grateful to Joani for her significant contributions to growing cohousing, from the personal attention she gave to so many people and communities to help them on their journey, to the advice and inspiration she shared through leading tours, presenting at conferences, and writings of her considerable experiences.

Hello everyone in Cohousing-l land…

Do You Feel Safe & Secure? Continued

In response to my Do You Feel Safe & Secure? blog, I received this thoughtful comment. I applaud the community's plan on hiring an outside facilitator. I also encourage those with similar concerns to attend our Dealing with Diverse Personalities Retreat.
Since last exchanging emails with you (National Cohousing Open House Day), there have been some changes in my Cohousing Village. A group of residents decided that they were not feeling safe at monthly business meetings.

Relationships and the Uncommon house

Have you ever noticed that when you go to dinner at a friends’ house you frequently have intimate, fun conversations that make you feel closer and more connected? Have you noticed that doesn’t usually happen at a dinner parties attended by lots of people? When we hang out one on one or in small groups the intimacy of the setting is conducive to personal dialog, we get a chance to share about ourselves and our lives.....For myriad financial and legal reasons we are not going to have a common house at Amabel.


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