We met 30 something newlyweds Ian and Joe at their 2 -bedroom condo to talk about the community living concept developed by Greg Sherwin. They were familiar with cohousing from California and were excited to share what this place had to offer.
In order to offer really affordable housing to people seeking community, Greg created a small, about eleven households, to participate in community living within a 313 condominium campus minutes away from University of Colorado. He adopts key aspects of community living such as shared community meals and social events and then offers renters price breaks of between $150-250 a month off of market rates to people who actively participate in these activities. This is a clever way to give incentive for involvement, one of the challenges in other cohousing communities we visited.
Some of the ways that this model differs from other communities is that people do not live close to each other and are spread apart in this large campus of 16 buildings. Instead of a common house, they have access to a one bedroom apartment. This type of living is not especially conducive to families or elder folk so most of the people in the community are young professionals. Lastly, most of the residents are renters, who after a certain time, do have the option to own. Several people, including Ian and his wife are considering that. Ian felt that this type of living offered them most of what they needed–affordable rates, access to urban living, and a sense of community.
While this is a unique attempt to merge some aspects of cohousing into an already existing environment, it felt like a very distant cousin to the energy and vibe of the other communities we visited. However, we definitely get it is important to generate some different thinking about how to generate community and commend them for their effort.