Tom and Christine Sine, introduce the concept of Cohousing, by looking two trends. First, he contrasts the explosion of expensive palatial mansions for the very wealthy with the American poor who cannot afford to live indoors and middle-income families who are priced out of the American dream. Secondly, he compared the mansion movement to the small house movement. This second trend has help to give birth to the cohousing. Tom challenges the readers of this chapter to consider alternative housing models like the Danish model of Cohousing.
Jim Bergdoll then beautifully tells the how this model was introduced and birthed. While sitting in a restaurant in Oakland, California, Jim, an urban designer and housing developer from UC Berkeley, recounts how the vision was first written on a napkin over coffee with a fellow member of Rockridge United Methodist Church. They dreamed of a more integrated life that would not be isolated from each other and the needs of their more disenfranchised community. They dreamed of homeownership in close proximity to one another with a demonstrated respect for their diversity, for the existing buildings and a respect for God by honoring “green” construction, edible gardens and fruit trees. Jim tells how this dream came true and all the costly setbacks—both monetarily and emotionally as the dream did not turn out they expected. Yet God took the “seed” that needed to die and buried it, so that even deeper purposes could be manifested. Today the beautiful Temescal Cohousing community enjoys the fruit of their challenging beginnings.
The Temescal Commons, in Oakland, California and the Bartimaeus Community, in Silverdale, Washington are presently the only Christian cohousing communities known of in North America. Other cohousing communities with affordable options include the Southside Park Cohousing in Sacramento partially funded by the local Redevelopment Agency, with five of its twenty five units set aside as affordable for low-income families, and six for moderate-income. Of the forty units in Higher Ground Cohousing in Bend Oregon two are Habitat homes. Wild Sage Cohousing in Boulder Colorado has four Habitat homes of its thirty-four total. Its master developer Wonderland Hill Development Company now has on its drawing board a community with twenty affordable units.
Partnerships for Affordable Cohousing: http://www.affordablecohousing.org/existing-communities
The Cohousing Journal: http://www.cohousing.org/cohousing-magazine.aspx