07/24/2006: "going ga-ga over cohousing"
Not quite two months ago a friend of mine (the local Green Party candidate) and her friend (and former campaign manager) started a local group to promote retrofit cohousing. What that means is that they take existing homes, tear down fences and bushes, develop some common space, and turn a regular neighbourhood into a mini community. It's something that really resonates with me, as I've wanted to develop an ecovillage/intentional community for years.
The group already has a small library of books and magazines, and I've borrowed Cohousing, which is apparently somewhat of a Bible in cohousing circles. It's a very, very, VERY good book, and has Jannette and I thinking along some different lines from retrofit cohousing.
I think what we're now leaning towards is a new cohousing development, modeled after Jystrup Savvaerket in Denmark, which in turn inspired WindSong, both of which are very close to what we'd like to do. The key there is the glass-enclosed pedestrian street between the homes, which makes for an all-weather year-round meeting place and area to simply sit or play. Just think - instead of having to don winter boots and a coat to get your mail or visit a neighbour, you simply put on your slippers and walk out into the promenade. Sweet.
Obviously that's a very simplified overview of what we want, but it seems that both Jannette and I are on the same page on this. At this point I'm feeling a real burning desire to get this going, so we're probably going to very actively search for more people to join us, and I've already got a bunch of sites in the city in mind that might make for a good development.
I've even made contact with WindSong's PR person, who is a lovely lady that has been very helpful answering my questions. If I could get a job in Langley, BC., I would be seriously tempted to move out there right now. (Of course, I do have school in 13 months, and they also don't have any homes for sale right now. Even if they did, there's likely a waiting list.)
So... if you're not in the home that you envision yourself retiring in yet (lookin' at you, Mr. Arthur Bunney), would like to make Waterloo your home, and like the idea of having not only your privacy but a supportive, nurturing, safe, and fun community literally right outside your front door, drop me a line. From what I've read, it takes between 2 and 4 years from first meeting to moving in. 2010, here I come!