Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Shared Values and Homes

Crazed by House Prices? Try Co-Housing
My wife Tannis has been looking into alternative housing options over the past year or so, and she's been interested in co-housing options. We have friends here who are willing to go for it and they've identified a potential property near the lake. But I'm posting this here as a personal account.

The way our economic system is set up makes these kinds of purchases very difficult. If your values include building personal communities and sharing resources, you're running counter to most societal trends toward privacy, property rights and competitive individuality...but people still do it. Seems to me this is a great example of lifestylism -- aligning values with lifestyle choices -- and better yet, it's shared actions to act on shared values.

Update: Frequent Lifestylism commentor and old classmate (from 1979-1991!) Garth has been musing along similar lines this week as he explores ideas of community.


Rob said...

Hi Jeremy
Have not the rich in New York being doing this for ages ion Coop apartments?

Is there ironically some good legal precedent that covers the complexity of ownership and how people join and leave there?

Best wishes rob

Jeremy said...

I always assumed they were rentals, but perhaps not. We had friends in Winnipeg who lived in an old heritage apartment block that was a co-op, but as far as I know, none of the residents owned their apartment.

In strata properties like ours, everyone owns their own unit but the strata organization (of which we're all members) takes care of the shared issues (shared lawn maintenance, snow clearing, etc). I guess that model could be used as a type of co-housing, but it wouldn't create shared space or the interconnectedness many people are seeking.

I think where it gets tricky is when several families are trying to buy a single property. As the article points out, there are ways to do it (and banks that will consider creative mortgage options that allow it), but it's unconventional and people are having to forge their own paths. Interesting, eh?

Jeremy said...

Looks like you may be on to something there, Rob -- it is a unique type of home ownership where residents do not actually own property, but they have shares in the building "corporation"...
Co-Op Apartments

Rob said...

I think that there might be something here - rich New Yorkers do not take a lot of risk and may have solved many of the real problems of group ownership