Cohousing project continues to grow


SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Iowa City Cohousing is continuing to build up money and membership, as demonstrated at an informational meeting held on Tuesday night.

The idea of cohousing was developed in Denmark; it revolves around a community of sharing and being environmentally friendly.

“I think the concept of cohousing is given birth by a group of people who live together and develop a neighborhood and a community on their own,” Iowa City Cohousing member Mary Beth Versgrove said. “They do that through what is important to them.”

Iowa City Cohousing, which will be building its cohousing neighborhood on 7.8 acres of land called Prairie Hills, has been holding informational meetings twice a month to give important details to Iowa City community members who are interested in the project.

The neighborhood will be made up of a common house, which acts as the center of the community, and 13 duplex housing units.

Some design plans have been completed for buildings that will be built on the property, while others are in the preliminary stages of design.

Versgrove said many of these designs were made through collaboration between Iowa City Cohousing members and the architects through design charrettes, or intensive planning sessions where citizens and designers create a vision for development.

“The idea here is that the design is coming from the members, and not from an architect just coming in and saying how things are going to be done,” she said.

Iowa City resident Adele Bonney, who attended the meeting, said she was planning to learn more about the cohousing project, as well as meet more of the people involved in Iowa City Cohousing.

“I really like the principles of building a community that, for me, represents both terrific people that I would enjoy relating to, and also a nice physical home,” she said.

Iowa City Cohousing members said the total assets they have are $636,000 and growing.

Carolyn Dyer, a member of the board of managers of Iowa City Cohousing, said they have 11 member households so far, and 13 outside investors who have provided loans for the purchase of land.

“Thirteen people lent us money to buy the land, and we have a couple of grants,” she said. “There are subsidies available for some kinds of housing, and there are rebates for all kinds of things.”

Iowa City Cohousing has increased its recruitment strategies, expanding them to reach more people through informational meetings, ads, posters, potlucks, and committee work.

“While we need money to build it, what we really need is a community,” Dyer said. “We have our informational meetings twice a month…and word of mouth has become very important.”

With recruitment efforts increasing, Iowa City Cohousing members are making it more known how important a sense of community is to them and Prairie Hills.

In order to become a member of Iowa City Cohousing or a member of Prairie Hills, those interested have to attend several meetings, visit the land with a member, and get to know the group through social events they hold, with the intention of getting to know those involved on a better level.

“What you realize very quickly is that it’s more about the people than it is about the housing,” Versgrove said. “There’s a lot to learn about [Iowa City Cohousing], and you can do that without investing a lot, except for your time.”

In today's issue:

Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.