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Thread: Cohousing & sustainable neighborhood design.

  1. #1
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    Cohousing & sustainable neighborhood design.

    Designing a Great Neighborhood. Netflix. Sooo good!

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    Thanks for the tip! I added it to my queue. I think neighborhood design is a fascinating subject.
    My blog: www.sunnysideuplife.blogspot.com

    Guess why I smile? Because it's worth it. -Marcel the Shell with Shoes

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    That was great!

    I basically live in a co-housing development built before that was a buzzword. My neighborhood was built as an experiment in neighborhood design in the 1960s. It was based on neighborhoods the builders had observed in parts of Europe. We live in townhouses that are basically set in a park. We have tons of green spaces, formal gardens, walking paths, two duck ponds that were built (by my grandfather) specifically to deal with stormwater and runoff, two swimming pools, a playground, a volleyball court, tennis courts and a basketball court.

    We lucked out and a campground that was across the street from us was converted to a park with canoeing, fishing piers, picnic areas, a state-of-the-art eco-friendly visitor center with a coffee shop that focuses on organic foods, a patio with a fireplace overlooking a lake, a dyer's garden, letterboxing, art classes, a pottery studio, an amphitheater for concerts, live jam sessions on Saturday mornings, walking paths, an art gallery and an indoor space with tables and chairs that can be used by coffee shop patrons or the community.

    We are within walking distance of a grocery store, several banks, restaurants and other businesses. We have lots of community functions. There's a Women Who Cook group that gets together to cook once a month, two bookclubs, parties, potlucks and other fun stuff.

    The one thing they didn't plan for back then was a community house. There is talk of building one, but it's going to have to wait a bit. In the meantime the visitor center at the park is kind of our go-to space for meeting.
    My blog: www.sunnysideuplife.blogspot.com

    Guess why I smile? Because it's worth it. -Marcel the Shell with Shoes

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    Moderator Float On's Avatar
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    Stella your neighborhood sounds wonderful!
    I'll add that to my queue, thanks redfox.
    Float On: My "Happy Place" is on my little kayak in the coves of Table Rock Lake.

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    Thanks Float On! It is a great neighborhood to live in.

    I'd be interested in seeing or reading some stuff on converting already existing neighborhoods to something more comunity oriented and environmentally friendly. I like the new designs, but realistically, tearing down existing neighborhoods probably isn't the most sustainable plan either and there's only so much new development that is really needed.
    My blog: www.sunnysideuplife.blogspot.com

    Guess why I smile? Because it's worth it. -Marcel the Shell with Shoes

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stella View Post
    Thanks Float On! It is a great neighborhood to live in.

    I'd be interested in seeing or reading some stuff on converting already existing neighborhoods to something more comunity oriented and environmentally friendly. I like the new designs, but realistically, tearing down existing neighborhoods probably isn't the most sustainable plan either and there's only so much new development that is really needed.
    Retrofit cohousing is definitely on the rise. Check out This article about Temescal Creek cohousing. I've visited there, and it's wonderful.
    http://www.cohousing.org/cm/article/temescal

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    Cool! Thanks for the link!
    My blog: www.sunnysideuplife.blogspot.com

    Guess why I smile? Because it's worth it. -Marcel the Shell with Shoes

  8. #8
    Low Tech grunt iris lily's Avatar
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    I am skeptical of planned communities etc so Stella, I DO like hearing about your neighborhood because I like the idea of something that isn't shiny new, but isn't decrepit old, either. Something built in the 1960's has had some time to age and settle and get a little patina, bugs are worked out, trees are big. But it defies the urban neighborhood ideal of urban planners.

    Working from my deeply embedded prejudice that only urban 'nabes are sustainable, I like to have someone thwack me with reality once in a while!

    But I refuse to accept the monstrosity known as New Town way far out in our suburbs as anything other than a sad wannabe copy of my own neighborhood, only without the black people. It is Stepford land.

    Go visit it and see:http://www.newtownatstcharles.com/StreetScapes.aspx

    And the business of new construction fulfilling goals of eco-friendliness and sustainablilty just makes me go "hunh?" A good argument can be made against building any structure new, as that is so intensive in using up earth resources. Retro-fitting old buildings while almost always more expensive that building new is better, though I suppose it depends on the expert consulted.

    getting off topic here...
    Last edited by iris lily; 10-16-11 at 9:21pm.

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    i'm hearing you, iris. "bedroom communities" are a real nightmare in my mind, even if they are trying to make them into "villages."

    i have to admit, i love wellington. the downtown is really nice (and safe), and then each neighborhood outside of that really has it's own "flavor." In fact, it's like completely different geographies impact the culture or something. Anyway, we live in Seatoun, which feels like a little sea-side town of yesteryear. Our little downtown village has a couple of churches and a VFW sort of place, plus two cafes, two shops/dairies, and two dress shops. There's also a small gym, an artist's studio, a pottery studio (where you can go and do your own pottery too, very cool thing), and the doctor's office (surgery -- they can do stitches and little things like that, or send you on to the hospital -- good stuff). There's also a fish and chips shop and a bathroom repair/plumber/renovation/builder shop/office.

    there's also a marae and maori school, where te reo is spoken (maori language), and of cours,e the normal schools, several beautiful parks, the beaches, several hikes, etc etc etc.

    seriously, it's perfect. And the bus can take you right into town in 30-45 minutes (depends upon the bus, time of day, etc). It's nice.

    Island Bay, another neighborhood we considered, is essentially an italian fishing village. It's so cool, i swear. Fascinating place. Still large italian settlement, but it's changing too. Definitely still the original italian fishing families still out there. Best pizza in NZ, but you have to get it in people's homes, no shop! They have a nifty little theater, too, in their town.

    I don't know. it's just cool. You have this city, and you can get into it and get all the cultural stuff, but you also have pretty much what you need in close range anyway. And, we walk about 20 minutes over the ridge into miramar (which also has a sweet downtown, and the movie studios!) and we have a library and the grocery store, and a french bakery, and and and.

    yeah. it's so neat living this way.

  10. #10
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    But I refuse to accept the monstrosity known as New Town way far out in our suburbs as anything other than a sad wannabe copy of my own neighborhood, only without the black people. It is Stepford land.
    I saw something like that outside of Stillwater, which is a beautiful small town on the MN/WI border. It was like something out of the X files and it totally creeped me out. I think the fact that the houses were McMansions contributed to the creepiness.

    I am .5 miles away from Minneapolis proper, so while I am in a suburban neighborhood, it's just barely suburban. "The Village" as it is affectionately known actually used to be part of Minneapolis, but seceded in the 1940s so they could have their own school district instead of sending their kids to the Minneapolis public schools. I'm partial to urban areas also.

    Zoebird your neighborhood sounds lovely! Iris I've been to your neighborhood, so I know it's lovely.

    I avoid new suburbs as much as possible, but there are some nice older ones here in the Twin Cities. White Bear Lake, where I lived for a while, was a resort area until the 1950s and has a very cute downtown area and lots of recreation on the lake. Anoka, where my friend lives, also has an old, thriving downtown area, a sense of civic pride and some beautiful parks along the river. We have a lot of fabulous urban neighborhoods too. Unfortunately a lot of them have gotten insanely expensive.
    My blog: www.sunnysideuplife.blogspot.com

    Guess why I smile? Because it's worth it. -Marcel the Shell with Shoes

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