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Subject: alt.housing.nontrad Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
This article was archived around: 21 May 2006 04:22:11 GMT
_NEW VERSION!_ Thanks to those who have helped to alleviate my
ignorance. (To those who were unhappy with the first FAQ, I
respectfully point out that no more knowledgeable soul had attempted
to start one.)
ALT.HOUSING.NONTRAD FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
* 1: What's This Group?
+ 1.1: Can I post looking for a roommate here? (NO!)
+ 1.2: Then what is this newsgroup about?
+ 1.3: Where can I find the latest FAQ?
+ 1.4: Where is this group archived?
* 2: Cohousing
+ 2.1: What is cohousing?
+ 2.2: Isn't that exclusive? Sounds like a subdivision.
+ 2.3: What examples of cohousing groups can you point to?
+ 2.4: Where else can I read about cohousing?
* 3: Nontraditional Houses
+ 3.1: Where can I learn about nontraditional houses?
1: What's This Group?
1.1: Can I post looking for a [summer sublet, roommate, etc] here?
NO. THIS IS A WORLDWIDE NEWSGROUP. People in Sao Paulo, Brazil,
have LITTLE TO NO interest in your desire for a summer sublet
in Nice, France. Thank you. Use a newsgroup local to your
facility or geographical area!
1.2: Then what is alt.housing.nontrad about?
This group was formed to discuss nontraditional housing. I had
new ideas such as cohousing (see below) in mind when I created
it. The group is meant for discussion of both alternative
_households_ (multigenerational housing, which was once the
norm, multifamily housing with shared recreational spaces, even
Nerd Houses...) and alternative _houses_ (which I didn't have
in mind at first, but I agree they're perfectly relevant to the
1.3: Where can I find the latest FAQ?
It's posted automatically to the newsgroup on a regular basis;
you can also find it on the World Wide Web at the URL
1.4: Where is this group archived?
This group is archived on the FTP site sunsite.unc.edu. FTP to
that site (see comp.unix.questions if you need help with FTP)
and do the following commands (thanks to Larry London):
2.1: What is cohousing?
The following is drawn from the welcome message of the
COHOUSING-L mailing list (described later in this FAQ):
Cohousing is the name of a type of collaborative housing that
has been developed primarily in Denmark since 1972 where it is
known as bofoellesskaber (English approximation...) . It is
Typically each dwelling contains a kitchen, living-dining
room and one or more bedrooms and baths, but the layout
of the home is reshuffled to reflect community priorities
- placing most used areas of home so they have a view of
and easy access to the pedestrian street.
Extensive common facilities
The common building is designed for daily use, to
supplement private living areas. The common building may
include such facilities as a large dining room including
a commercial style kitchen, lounges, meeting rooms,
recreation facilities, library, workshops, childcare.
Residents organize and participate in the planning and
design process for the development and are responsible as
a group for all final decisions.
Intentional Neighborhood design
The physical design itself encourages a strong sense of
community (as opposed to isolation) and facilitates
Complete Resident Management
Residents manage the community making decisions of common
concern at community meetings.
Pragmatic social goals
Unlike collective and intentional communities, Cohousing
retains the privacy and autonomy of the household
but strengthens the family by creating supportive
social networks and sharing certain daily tasks.
The typical Cohousing community has 20 to 30 single
family homes along a pedestrian street or clustered
around a pedestrian court yard. The individual
homes may resemble townhouses. Cars are kept on the
periphery of the area. The common building is
located centrally, often situated so it is passed
when entering the community. Residents of cohousing
communities often have several optional group meals
in the common building each week.
2.2: Isn't that exclusive? Sounds like a subdivision.
Jim Ratliff tells us:
Affordable housing is a major challenge. But it's not the
challenge that cohousing is addressing. Cohousing
shouldn't be criticized for the problems it does NOT
solve, but rather should be praised for the problems it
DOES attempt to solve.
Of course, SOMEONE has to pay extra to allow those with
less money (i.e. can't pay their share) to participate.
Those in my group are neither rich nor poor, but
hopefully have just barely enough to barely make it work
for them. They certainly aren't well-off enough to
subsize others. There's no magic bullet for affordable
housing: Someone has to pay in the end. To ask for
subsidization for poorer members is to require the
existence of richer members--the exclusivity problem
2.3: What examples of cohousing groups can you point to?
Once again, Jim Ratliff to the rescue:
You can get a list from:
The Cohousing Company
1250 Addison St. #113
Berkeley CA 94702
There's also a list in the Cohousing Resource Guide, described in
the next section.
2.4: Where else can I read about cohousing?
References provided by Larry London:
First another electronic resource: there is a cohousing
mailing list. Send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the
following line in the BODY of the message (no subject
subscribe COHOUSING-L myname
(_Information about the Cohousing Resource Guide provided
originally by Rob Sandelin_)
The cohousing resource guide will be available in March
of this year. It is produced by the Puget Sound Cohousing
Network, and compiled and edited largely by me.
The Cohousing Resource Guide is a 50+ page collection of
experiences, advice and learning from several of the
cohousing groups in our region who have built projects.
It includes information about group process and dynamics,
finding a site, some begining design issues to think
about, and a bunch of other info. It also includes
references to books, tapes and cohousing groups and
people. It is designed in a three ring binder format to
be cheap and easy to annually update as new resources and
advice gets shared.
To order a copy send $6 (This covers our printing and
mailing costs) to
22020 East Lost Lake Rd.
Snohomish, WA 98290
Reference provided by Art Mulder:
_Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing
Ourselves_-- 2nd ed._ Kathryn M. McCamant and Charles R.
Durrett and Ellen Hertzman, 1994, Ten Speed Press, Post
Office Box 7123, Berkeley, CA 94707. $29.95. 22 cm x 24.5
cm (8.5" x 9.5") , 288 pages, Paperback is (aqua) green.
More from Larry London:
There also a monthly magazine, viz. "Cohousing Magazine,"
which I believe costs $25/year (comes out quarterly I
think). Write to: The CoHousing Network P.O. Box 2584
Berkeley CA 94702
3: Nontraditional Houses
3.1: Where can I learn about nontraditional houses?
There is a newsgroup about this subject,
alt.architecture.alternative. In addition, the following wisdom
is provided by Larry London, with minor editing by me:
There is information about this and many other topics at
sunsite.unc.edu. Check out the ftp directory:
on sunsite.unc.edu and try the following (if you need basic
information about FTP please read news.announce.newusers and