Retrofitting Existing Neighborhoods: The N Street Model (Cohen & Sanguinetti)

Presented by Kevin Wolf & Angela Sanguinetti

Session Description

In this session we will identify the important similarities and differences between an N Street-type retrofit cohousing community that grows over time and a developed cohousing community where residents move in all-at-once. Some of the topics we will explore are: principles and goals, consensus-based processes, financial impacts including who can participate and live there, how to get started and acquire property and homes, and what they look like and how they change over time.

From our session and your input, we hope to put together a document that helps new retrofit cohousing efforts get started. We would also like to identify retrofit cohousing communities that are in various stages of development, and create a master list of these communities that can be used to track their growth over time.

About the Presenters

Raines Cohen is a multi-tasking community organizer who has supported many cohousing neighborhoods at all stages of development. He has lived in two, advised several, and visited over 100 communities. He runs the world's largest cohousing MeetUp, East Bay Cohousing, with over 4000 members, and has over 5000 community seekers in their Cohousing California regional network. He has served on the Coho/US and FIC national boards and helped with the website and social media.

Angela Sanguinetti is an environmental psychologist, and a postdoctoral researcher at University of California, Davis, where she leads the Consumer Energy Interfaces Lab. Dr. Sanguinetti led a group of cohousing researchers and professionals in conducting a national survey of cohousing residents in 2012. She is a pioneering member of the Cohousing Research Network (CRN) and has published academic research about cohousing and intentional communities. Dr. Sanguinetti is interested in creative ways to bring the spirit of cohousing to the mainstream. Her research has identified common activities that are critical to achieving the personal, social, and environmental benefits of cohousing; examined accessibility of retrofit cohousing; and experimented to determine influences of message-framing on perceptions of and attitudes toward the concept of cohousing. Personally, she aspires to create and live in a retrofit cohousing community.