I ‘m wondering if, like me, you are seeing a growing interest in cohousing ? Is this an idea whose day has come? Possibly even a trend-in-the-making? I'm heading out this morning to do some "hands-on" research.
I'm going to look at one eco-developer's concept for an ecovillage with cohousing potentials,not far from Asheville. Here's what I know so far: An ecovillage may be in an urban or rural area and is not defined by its location, but rather by concept.
I've been told that this one (still in progress) will be defined by another standard: the very caring eco-developer's love of nature. This could make it unique, something especially interesting to the Brokers at our Firm and our real estate clients.
So... will I find this special attention to nature plus the defining characteristics of the eco-community?
- Sense of community by design
- Common areas and facilities
If so, that could be cohousing with a heart! (see photo I picked to symbolize this) and I'll let you know in an upcoming post. . . .
One thing I have surmised already, and just from engaging conversations with the "green" developer here in Asheville is that this place is designed to meet the needs of residents interested in and ready to practice sustainability.
Example: I discovered that all homes to be constructed here must be sustainable "green" homes . (For interesting information about Healthy Built Homes including the Gold, Silver and Bronze Ratings Scale click here. )
Not surprisingly, given this is an eco-community in the making, the very first (green-built) structure on the property will be a central gathering place, the social center of a community. Patterned after the old grist mill that once stood on the property, it is planned to be a place where seminars can be held, and where neighbors can get together to enjoy a large dining area- kitchen- lounge and (this is in my mind's eye) can revel in the locally grown fare.
To me, as an ECO certified real estate consultant® one of the most exciting aspects of this place is the overall design of this eco-community. The friendly developers tell me that it is grounded in the concept of "net zero energy" where green-built homes and renewable resources give an appreciative nod to Mother Nature.
I, myself, love just the thought of exploring the trails that lead to conservation lands, on three sides, and the old apple orchard and vineyard on that conservation land. I'm struck with the fact that this is an authentic "green plan" with room for plenty of social contact and individual space. As a member of the community, folks can enjoy a shared sense of caring for all who live there .
As a REALTOR®, I realize that this will be so attractive to a diverse group of interested people. This could turn out to be a novel approach to cohousing! For our clients who long for this combination, just knowing that may actually be "out here" makes me smile. If it is the real deal, as I suspect, I'd better include some smelling salts in my first aid kit as our clients are going to swoon with delight. (I'm smiling.)
Resources: Existing Ecovillages/ Sustainable Eco-Communities
Sunward Cohousing near Ann Arbor, MI. ... A place "where lives are simplified, the earth is respected, diversity is welcomed, children play together in safety, and living in community with neighbors comes naturally."
Winslow Cohousing on Bainbridge Island near Seattle, WA. ...Where residents aim to "a minimal impact on the earth and create a place in which all residents are equally valued as part of the community."
EcoVillage at Ithaca, NY. ...Here the goal is "to explore and model innovative approaches to ecological and social sustainability."
Earthaven Ecovillage near Asheville, N.C.... Where residents are "dedicated to caring for people and the Earth by learning, living, and demonstrating a holistic, sustainable culture."
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