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Letter: Cohousing revolution

Nothing but a cultural revolution is going to change how life is in the Roaring Fork Valley regarding affordable housing.

I attended the housing forum in Carbondale Wednesday, Feb. 3, and I am sorry I did not speak out. I have much to say.

I have been working, along with others, on developing a cohousing community in or around Carbondale. I personally have been committed to this work for many years.



Cohousing is an intentional community of private homes clustered around shared space and a common house. The people partner with a developer and help to build and manage their own neighborhood. Many social and business gatherings must happen to determine who and what the core values are of the group developing. We have started that process and are well on our way. Much cohousing (see http://www.cohousing.org or http://www.ic.org) is high-end or market-value homes. We want to see this turn around to be smaller and affordable dwellings.

We want to keep our young and old in our midst. Conscious community built without greed and sustainably with small footprint, small living spaces is one way to do this. With the advantage of a common house, grounds and friendly neighbors, the small living can seem large. This is a piece of the revolutionary thinking.



The housing forum assured me that there is a mindset that is willing to look at this. Now it is time to act on it.

We propose to have shared living with suites around a common kitchen and living room that people could purchase or rent. That will be revolutionary. Single family, duplexes, triplexes, studios, all would be deed-restricted and only a few market value homes. Revolutionary. Mixed incomes, ethnicity, generations living together. Revolutionary. In order for this to happen the government and the people will need to be deeply collaborative. Possible rezoning, recalibrating density and re-examining impact fees.

Only with a collaborative effort and culturally creative model will we be able to move forward with affordable rental and owned living here in our area. Feel free to get in touch with me at healthyday2u@gmail.com.

Nancy Thal

Carbondale


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