Cohousing Across the Country – Part 2

Sharing the journey from Atlanta, GA to Anacortes, WA, engaging with community along the way.  

Part 2 of 7

Long Trails and Great Ideas

Cohousing begins with great ideas, hard work and risky investment in shared dreams.  Sometimes the vision and the effort deliver cohousing in a matter of years, sometimes it’s longer.  My first community stop as I traveled from the SouthEast to the NorthWest was with Carol and Tom Braford of Arizmendi Ecovillage in St. Louis, where they have held and nurtured a vision of community, yet to be realized, for two decades.  

I found my way through St. Louis, over the river with a view of the famous arch, to a tree lined street. Carol and Tom welcomed me to their home, a beautiful century-old victorian which will one day house the senior cohousing element of the ecovillage.  We gathered around the largest round table I’ve ever seen, perfectly fitted to the curve of the dining room, and I could easily imagine the rich conversations to be had over meals passed on the lazy susan in the middle.  

Conversation flowed easily as they shared their vision for not one, but four cohousing communities, weaving in plans for affordability and diversity.  They hope to leverage the concepts of worker-owned co-ops, co-living, and common spaces shared with businesses to achieve an affordability most communities cannot manage.  They researched and accessed funds from government programs, and they are inviting investors. 

The energy for new approaches is balanced with a deep grounding in acquired knowledge of cohousing experts. Their plan was drawn by Chuck Durrett, the most experienced cohousing architect in the US.  They attend CohoUS conferences, have visited dozens of communities, and engage with the cohousing community.  

They are also reaching into the history of their home city. They hope to partner with the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation as a way to embrace diversity and connect with the non-profit sector.  It was a particular joy to share breakfast with Lynn Jackson, the great, great granddaughter of Dred and Harriet Scott, along with others involved in the project. There is something powerful about the creative energy that builds cohousing that stayed with me as I headed west.  

Category: Knowledge

Tags: create, egovillage, grants, history, stlouis

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