Upzoned

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February 9, 2022  

Where Does Cohousing Fit in the Housing Ecosystem?

February 9, 2022

After her marriage of 17 years ended, Holly Harper, a consultant and entrepreneur in Washington, DC, rented a one-bedroom apartment for herself and her daughter. Harper wanted to own a home again (it was a priority for her financial stability) but she was a self-employed, single parent in an expensive city. What to do?

In two recent articles in Insider, Harper tells the story of how she became “a post-divorce homeowner” through cohousing. Harper now lives with two other single moms, and their five children, in a multi-unit home in Washington. Harper estimates that she saved $30,000 last year by cohousing. “The financial, social, and emotional benefits have been life-changing,” she writes. “Not only do I get to save money every month, but I get to live beyond my means by pooling our extra belongings and using them when needed.”

This week’s Upzoned looks at cohousing and the essential role it can play—should play—in a city’s housing strategy, and how it can make homeownership a reality for more people. Host Abby Kinney, an urban planner in Kansas City, is joined this week by guest co-host John Pattison, the community builder for Strong Towns.

Abby and John talk about where cohousing fits in the housing ecosystem, and the ways in which towns and cities make it easier or harder for people to pursue. John also talks about his own family’s experience with cohousing—or something very like cohousing—and the financial and social benefits it has brought them.

Then in the Downzone, Abby talks about her upcoming trip to the CNU gathering in Oklahoma City, and John recommends a recent National Geographic article about why the restoration of Notre Dame cathedral begs the question: “Restore to what?

A reminder: Nominations for the Strongest Town contest are due by Sunday, February 20. Want to highlight the progress your town or city is making toward becoming stronger and more resilient? Nominate your community today!

Additional Show Notes