Date   
Re: Notes on Magdalena, New Mexico, and the Route 60 Corridor

maxeem
 

Then this may be another argument for why it may be better not to establish in Southwest NM. I watch the dust column index (personal health reasons) and SW New Mexico all the way up to Silver City gets hit when the winds blow it North. The forested area might be a breaker, leading to less obfuscation if you can get above the tree lines.

According to the measurements given anyway, dust will also get up to Albuquerque or further at times, but not as thick or as often? Haven't paid much attention to Texas but the times I've seen it it's largely in West TX blowing West-Southwest.

Just a fun and useful tool for gathering data from weather.gov

Maxeem


On 6/1/20 4:15 PM, David Oesper via groups.io wrote:

John,

I'm so glad you mentioned the importance of astronomical seeing in choosing a site. It certainly must be a key consideration. Is there a DIMM that is commercially available? If not, we may need to borrow one of yours (or make one ourselves) when we are ready to evaluate a site.

Thanks for the link to your poster paper!

To the group, here's some more information about astronomical seeing. Perhaps an oversimplification (John?), but it does give you a good introduction. For starters, you want to be on the prevailing-wind side of any mountains or hills to avoid being on the receiving end of any topography-induced turbulence.

http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/~meech/a281/handouts/seeing.pdf

Dave

Re: Notes on Magdalena, New Mexico, and the Route 60 Corridor

John W Briggs
 

It's a good thing to bring up the general issue of wind and dust.  Until one has a chance to live in the Southwest, it's easy to underestimate how significant the spring windy season is.  I moved here (NM) as a native of Massachusetts.  Likely the first seasonal thing one learns about here is the monsoon season that normally runs through the summer.  At Sunspot (originally a site of National Solar Observatory), a local joke was that the monsoons started immediately after the July 4th holiday weekend.  But it was amazing how often this seemed exactly true, at least while my family and I were there!

The effect of the monsoons is for an afternoon buildup of thunderstorms that often last through at least the first half of the night.  The second half, however, can be wonderfully clear.  Nevertheless, professional observatories in the Southwest, like Apache Point, typically schedule major engineering projects and other observing shut-downs during the monsoon season.

In the spring, however, the problem is the wind, and as far as I've learned, it's a problem everywhere in the Southwest.  In our experience so far here in Magdalena, the worse month is April.  This year, it seemed to start early and end late.  My impressions are very subjective of course.  But what is certainly true is that there's a regular annual season of high wind that's very significant to astronomers.  Professional observatories often have dust monitors that can trigger quick closings during "dust events."  The most serious issue can be windblown pine pollen that's potentially sticky on optics.  In turns of housecleaning, windblown dust pushing through door frames and windows can be a bit obnoxious, no denying it.  

But lest I sound too negative describing these issues, I think most of us living here will agree that we're very grateful for the overall astronomical advantages of the Southwest.  One should just be prepared for the details that come with a particular environment.  For example, we're very sensitive to seasonal issues when we plan our annual Enchanted Skies Start Party that's begun to attract repeat participants coming from as far away as Switzerland.  We would naturally not schedule that in either the monsoon or the windy seasons.  An operation running short-term rentals is not likely to get many astronomers renting in those seasons.

At the high altitude of Sunspot (over 9,000 feet), one advantage was that often it seemed the gypsum dust of nearby White Sands National Monument would not reach all the way up to the observatory during the windy times.  (But sometimes, on the other hand, it sure would!)

A final class of environmental issues that may catch newcomers off-guard is how very serious moths and ladybugs can be getting into scientific equipment in huge clumps at some locations.  These insects were awful pests at Sunspot and Apache Point.  At the lower altitude of Magdalena (6,500 feet), they don't seem such a problem.  Not yet in my experience here, anyway!

Finally, I attach following right below another message I recently sent out to local astronomers and interested community friends.  In the last month or so, we've been making a particular effort here to get all-sky and weather information for FOAH Observatory on the Internet.  It's not hard.  But it took enough work that I was glad being able to brag a bit in sharing it, as follows:            (--JWB.)

###

Check out this link to the weather station now running on the FOAH Observatory hilltop:


The wind is typically much more severe at the hilltop than it is in the Village to our south or even at our house at the bottom of the little hill.  The altitude at the hilltop is exactly 6500 feet or 1981 meters, per Google Earth.

The weather instrument is an Ambient WS-2902B and cost about $170, not counting the hardware to mount it securely about 7 feet above ground on the hill.  (I've been up there at times it seemed my F-350 pickup was gonna blow off!)

Links to our all-sky camera, now running regularly pretty well, are here:


The Clear Sky Chart specifically for FOAH Observatory is here:


FOAH has an assigned IAU observatory code, V23.  This allows computations of JPL ephemerides specifically for FOAH and is thus especially useful for pointing to near-Earth objects that may have significant horizontal parallax.  Enter V23 as necessary to define the site:


--JWB.



On Tue, Jun 2, 2020 at 11:30 AM maxeem <maxeem@...> wrote:

Then this may be another argument for why it may be better not to establish in Southwest NM. I watch the dust column index (personal health reasons) and SW New Mexico all the way up to Silver City gets hit when the winds blow it North. The forested area might be a breaker, leading to less obfuscation if you can get above the tree lines.

According to the measurements given anyway, dust will also get up to Albuquerque or further at times, but not as thick or as often? Haven't paid much attention to Texas but the times I've seen it it's largely in West TX blowing West-Southwest.

Just a fun and useful tool for gathering data from weather.gov

Maxeem


On 6/1/20 4:15 PM, David Oesper via groups.io wrote:

John,

I'm so glad you mentioned the importance of astronomical seeing in choosing a site. It certainly must be a key consideration. Is there a DIMM that is commercially available? If not, we may need to borrow one of yours (or make one ourselves) when we are ready to evaluate a site.

Thanks for the link to your poster paper!

To the group, here's some more information about astronomical seeing. Perhaps an oversimplification (John?), but it does give you a good introduction. For starters, you want to be on the prevailing-wind side of any mountains or hills to avoid being on the receiving end of any topography-induced turbulence.

http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/~meech/a281/handouts/seeing.pdf

Dave

Sharehouse

David Oesper
 

Hi Maxeem,

Welcome to the group! As we develop our idea for Mirador Astronomy Village, it is clear we'll need several different types of housing for residents. All of it rental. One that I had not considered but now will add to the Mirador specifications document is the sharehouse idea that you so eloquently wrote about:

"One thing that maybe could have helped...may be to have one sharehouse, not necessarily among the single-family homes but a part of the community. That is, a big place with people sharing close quarters. It's my preferred community style and it's sometimes not present in otherwise great communities that have a very imposing entry price for hard working community members, besides any additional HOA type agreements. This would have given me a home, given potential new friend(s) an entry point, allow some renters, and create a sub-culture that is exciting, multicultural and hopefully blends naturally with a welcoming invitation to any privileges made available for long-term stayers. Some of the short-term folks ending up becoming long-term folks, ideally, I guess."

"It may not apply to what you're discussing, but just thought I would toss in the idea about what replenishes my sense of community."

It does definitely apply to what we're discussing, Maxeem. Thank you! Bennett has been describing something similar, but sometimes I need to hear about an idea more than once before it sinks in, and you've given it a name: sharehouse.

I found this web page "What is a share house?" that gives further helpful details:

https://www.oakhouse.jp/eng/sharehouse/about

So, Mirador should have the following types of housing:

  1. A cohousing community
  2. Apartments
  3. A sharehouse
  4. An RV park
  5. Lodging for visitors and guests

Have I got it covered?

Thanks much!

Dave

Senior Cohousing Handbook: Chapter 5 Notes and Mirador Musings

David Oesper
 
Edited

Prior to building your community, identify and address all issues as early as possible, before they turn into conflicts.


Smaller houses in a senior cohousing community provide the following advantages:

  • More affordable
  • Easier upkeep
  • Better materials can be used, providing a more comfortable place to live with less maintenance needed later
  • Common house provides some of the amenities you would normally have in a larger home

A typical smaller cohousing home is 600 to 1,000 sq ft. One bedroom, all-in-one kitchen-dining-living room, bathroom, and “plus room” (office or hobby room) off to the side. But...

At Mariendalsvej Senior Cohousing [in Copenhagen, Denmark], high-income prospective residents found one-bedroom 840-960 sq. ft. and two-bedroom 1,020-1,100 sq. ft. apartments to be too small.

milky_way Personal Note: The two of us have grown accustomed to living in a 1,600 - 2,500 sq. ft. home over the years, and we fully utilize just about all of that space. I’m not sure we could downsize to 600 to 1,000 sq. ft. How about you? If one or both of you snore, or keep very different schedules (night owl + early bird), it seems that two bedrooms would be a necessity. milky_way


Make sure you have enough tenants signed up and involved with the project before you build!

Without a strong core resident group to hold the line in terms of budget, there is real danger that costs will creep up beyond the reach of potential residents who are interested in the cohousing concept (already a limited pool of potential buyers).

Without the leadership of a strong resident group, the developer may not fully support, or perhaps even understand, the cohousing concept enough to see the project through with its original intent intact—that of creating a community.

Without a strong group process in which a group of people embark on the common task of developing the project, committing themselves, and taking responsibility, the opportunity for group formation and bonding is utterly lost, and the community itself might fail.

A “you can add the community after move-in” philosophy simply does not create cohousing. Prospective buyers cannot be forced to buy into the cohousing concept itself. An individual or family is either predisposed to cooperating with neighbors or is not—no one is going to be “talked into it”.

milky_way Do we want "cohousing stout" for Mirador, or "cohousing lite"? We do have a choice. milky_way

References

The Senior Cohousing Handbook, Second Edition, by Charles Durrett (2009): Chapter 5

Re: Senior Cohousing Handbook: Chapter 5 Notes and Mirador Musings

Bennett Jones
 

Dave,
It does not have to be a binary choice - "stout" vs "lite".
A continuum is possible (and recommended) from the very beginning.
Within the Campground you could go from a tent as your "Bed Room", with all other facilities being shared (I did that for 3 1/2 years of my life - which I still miss), to a fully self-contained RV with all the bells and whistles and no need to share any facilities at all.

A formal survey of members might be interesting.
Q? - Are interested in:
1 - personal tent only - all other spaces and facilities shared
2 - personal RV used as a Bed Room - all other spaces and facilities shared
3 - personal Bed Room - all other spaces and facilities shared
4 - personal RV used as a Bed Room with a toilet - all other spaces and facilities shared
5 - personal Bed Room with a toilet - all other spaces and facilities shared
6 - personal RV used as a Bed Room with a toilet and bathing facilities - all other spaces and facilities shared
7 - personal Bed Room with a toilet and bathing facilities - all other spaces and facilities shared
8 - personal RV used as a Bed Room with a toilet, bathing facilities, Kitchen, and Dinning area - all other spaces and facilities shared
9 - personal apartment with a Bed Room, Bath Room, Kitchen, and Dinning area - all other spaces and facilities shared
10- personal RV used as a Bed Room with a toilet, bathing facilities, Kitchen, Dinning area, and Laundry - all other spaces and facilities shared
11- personal apartment with a Bed Room, Bath Room, Kitchen, Dinning area, and Laundry - all other spaces and facilities shared
12- personal home with access to all shared facilities
Etc. etc. etc.

I do recommend separate (adjoining) Bed Rooms for family members in the first permanent non-common structures that are built.
You have pointed out a few of many reasons that even spouses might need to sleep apart, for at least a short period of time.

You may be surprised how little private personal space you actually need to live comfortably.
(I shared 10 years in a sailboat with a living space of 8'x12'=96 sq. ft., which I also still miss.)

Bennett

On Thursday, June 4, 2020, 08:43:16 PM CDT, David Oesper via groups.io <oesper@...> wrote:


Prior to building your community, identify and address all issues as early as possible, before they turn into conflicts.


Smaller houses in a senior cohousing community provide the following advantages:

  • More affordable
  • Easier upkeep
  • Better materials can be used, providing a more comfortable place to live with less maintenance needed later
  • Common house provides some of the amenities you would normally have in a larger home

A typical smaller cohousing home is 600 to 1,000 sq ft. One bedroom, all-in-one kitchen-dining-living room, bathroom, and “plus room” (office or hobby room) off to the side. But...

At Mariendalsvej Senior Cohousing [in Copenhagen, Denmark], high-income prospective residents found one-bedroom 840-960 sq. ft. and two-bedroom 1,020-1,100 sq. ft. apartments to be too small.

milky_way Personal Note: The two of us have grown accustomed to living in a 1,600 - 2,500 sq. ft. home over the years, and we fully utilize just about all of that space. I’m not sure we could downsize to 600 to 1,000 sq. ft. How about you? If one or both of you snore, or keep very different schedules (night owl + early bird), it seems that two bedrooms would be a necessity. milky_way


Make sure you have enough tenants signed up and involved with the project before you build!

Without a strong core resident group to hold the line in terms of budget, there is real danger that costs will creep up beyond the reach of potential residents who are interested in the cohousing concept (already a limited pool of potential buyers).

Without the leadership of a strong resident group, the developer may not fully support, or perhaps even understand, the cohousing concept enough to see the project through with its original intent intact—that of creating a community.

Without a strong group process in which a group of people embark on the common task of developing the project, committing themselves, and taking responsibility, the opportunity for group formation and bonding is utterly lost, and the community itself might fail.

A “you can add the community after move-in” philosophy simply does not create cohousing. Prospective buyers cannot be forced to buy into the cohousing concept itself. An individual or family is either predisposed to cooperating with neighbors or is not—no one is going to be “talked into it”.

milky_way Do we want "cohousing stout" for Mirador, or "cohousing lite"? We do have a choice. milky_way

ReferencesThe Senior Cohousing Handbook, Second Edition, by Charles Durrett (2009): Chapter 5

Mirador Astronomy Village Living Accommodations #poll

David Oesper
 
Edited

As currently planned, Mirador Astronomy Village will provide several options for housing, including a cohousing community, apartments, a sharehouse, and RV park. All residents will rent. If you were to live in Mirador Astronomy Village someday (hypothetically speaking, at this early stage), please select the housing accommodations that would be acceptable to you, keeping in mind that as you go down the list, the monthly rent will get higher (unless, of course, you provide your own RV). Feel free to choose more than one option. This poll applies to both full-time and part-time residents.

Results

Re: Mirador Astronomy Village Living Accommodations #poll

Lissa Bengtson
 

The poll only let me choose one option. 

Lissa

Re: Mirador Astronomy Village Living Accommodations #poll

David Oesper
 

OK, last communication on this for today. I joined the group managers forum and this is a bug that was reported today. Some recent updates broke this feature. So for now, you'll only be able to select one choice. I'll fix this as soon as groups.io fixes their problem. Sorry about the inconvenience.

Re: Mirador Astronomy Village Living Accommodations #poll

David Oesper
 

Hi Lissa et al.,

Groups.io fixed the problem, and you can now choose multiple options. Even if you have already voted, you can go in and add or change your choices.

I will leave this poll open indefinitely, and you should be able to see the poll results at any time. The identity of who voted for what will not be visible, so you can vote with anonymity.

Since I am not able to add a "free text" response to this poll, if you look at this and think "none of the above" please reply in private or to the group as to what choices you would like me to add, and I will add them.

Please vote! Even if you are peripherally involved with this group, your opinion is important!

Thanks,

David Oesper

EcoReality Wiki Example

David Oesper
 

EcoReality is located about 3 km west of Fulford Harbour on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia. Though not a candidate for a dark-sky community, I wanted to share with you their wiki. Even though it is old-school and low-tech, it is surprisingly effective and did not require the services of an expensive web designer. Pay special attention to their "Some ecovillage components" map down towards the bottom of the page!

http://www.ecoreality.org/wiki/Welcome_to_EcoReality!

Perhaps we could develop a wiki for Mirador and/or dark-sky communities in general. Wikis are collaborative, just like Wikipedia.

Re: Mirador Astronomy Village Living Accommodations #poll

Sharon Villines
 

This may be a duplicate question, but why rentals? How will you finance construction? What cohousing groups do is presell the units. Then the construction loan is based on those contracts. When the units close (or lots if you are doing RVs or tents), you pay back the construction loan. With additional sales you start again to build more and to build common spaces.

Sharon

On Jun 9, 2020, at 5:41 PM, David Oesper via groups.io <oesper@...> wrote:

[Edited Message Follows]

A poll has been updated:


As currently planned, Mirador Astronomy Village will provide several options for housing, including a cohousing community, apartments, a sharehouse, and RV park. All residents will rent. If you were to live in Mirador Astronomy Village someday (hypothetically speaking, at this early stage), please select the housing accommodations that would be acceptable to you, keeping in mind that as you go down the list, the monthly rent will get higher (unless, of course, you provide your own RV). Feel free to choose more than one option. This poll applies to both full-time and part-time residents.


1. Private tent only - all other spaces and facilities shared
2. Private RV used as a bedroom - all other spaces and facilities shared
3. Private bedroom - all other spaces and facilities shared
4. Private RV used as a bedroom with a toilet - all other spaces and facilities shared
5. Private bedroom with a toilet - all other spaces and facilities shared
6. Private RV used as a bedroom with a toilet and bathing facilities - all other spaces and facilities shared
7. Private bedroom with a toilet and bathing facilities - all other spaces and facilities shared
8. Private RV used as a bedroom with a toilet, bathing facilities, kitchen, and dining area - all other spaces and facilities shared
9. Private apartment with with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and dining area - all other spaces and facilities shared
10. Private RV used as a bedroom with a toilet, bathing facilities, kitchen, dining area, and laundry - all other spaces and facilities shared
11. Private apartment with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, dining area, and laundry - all other spaces and facilities shared
12. Private home with one bedroom and one bathroom - access to all shared facilities
13. Private home with two bedrooms and one bathroom - access to all shared facilities
14. Private home with two bedrooms and two bathrooms - access to all shared facilities
15. Private home with three bedrooms and two bathrooms - access to all shared facilities
16. Private home with four bedrooms and two bathrooms - access to all shared facilities

Vote Now

Do not reply to this message to vote in the poll. You can vote in polls only through the group's website.


Re: Mirador Astronomy Village Living Accommodations #poll

maxeem
 

I can't answer the "why" for anyone else, but I can maybe manage to answer a potential "how".

The form of rental that worked for us (my intentional community is a co-op, now celebrating its 80th year) was to have each resident own a share of the place which was owned cooperatively. We set the rent price ourselves and paid this monthly rent to ourselves in order to fund the various departments of the house such as supplies, food, repairs, etc. (a small amount of funds also came from payments from busy folx to cover their missed chores). No position was paid, but you were required to have a position to live there.

The recruitment manager(s)'s job, for example, was to keep track of who was going to move in or move out and find new people to replace those moving out (when there wasn't a waiting list, and it would comfortably vacillate between too few and too many people wanting to populate the place).

We paid such affordable rent for room & board, which allowed each of us to spend more time valuing each other and pursuing our individual dreams, rather than working ourselves just to barely afford housing or re-purchase dozens of things that make more sense to share. And yet, despite the affordability, with 29 residents we always had savings every month, and last decade we repaired our extension, installed new windows, and redid the stucco (Something like $200k+).

So it's a strangely effective system. If you set it up right. Insurance was set up and handled by a company connected to the father of one of the original members. When you pay your first rent and deposit you become an owner. There is no equity. And the shares do nothing presently, and everyone is happy to just contribute now, but at one time in the past you were issued a lovely little certificate of stock. (Still some of these sitting around in the finance closet somewhere). The purpose of these was to track a small dividend returned to renters each year that gradually was forgotten about or dispensed with.

How it was founded was the coop got a loan from another cooperative or two in the 1930s which they paid back. The coop group (created by a woman naturally!) swooped in and bought a frat house that had recently gone bankrupt due to mismanagement.

I would guess with a sharehouse you could have a different loaning partner that is less likely to decline than a bank, such as the larger ecovillage community's own bank. Or this "funding" thing may be a moot issue if its worked into the site plan.

I'd be happy to explain anything else about my home community, and how it handled various inevitable troubles that societies are bound to encounter. I miss it all the time. Feels like such a natural way to live for me as opposed to considering what I would have to do to consider traditional home ownership.

<3

Max


On 6/9/20 5:53 PM, Sharon Villines via groups.io wrote:
This may be a duplicate question, but why rentals? How will you finance construction? What cohousing groups do is presell the units. Then the construction loan is based on those contracts. When the units close (or lots if you are doing RVs or tents), you pay back the construction loan. With additional sales you start again to build more and to build common spaces.

Sharon

On Jun 9, 2020, at 5:41 PM, David Oesper via groups.io <oesper@...> wrote:

[Edited Message Follows]

A poll has been updated:


As currently planned, Mirador Astronomy Village will provide several options for housing, including a cohousing community, apartments, a sharehouse, and RV park. All residents will rent. If you were to live in Mirador Astronomy Village someday (hypothetically speaking, at this early stage), please select the housing accommodations that would be acceptable to you, keeping in mind that as you go down the list, the monthly rent will get higher (unless, of course, you provide your own RV). Feel free to choose more than one option. This poll applies to both full-time and part-time residents.


1. Private tent only - all other spaces and facilities shared
2. Private RV used as a bedroom - all other spaces and facilities shared
3. Private bedroom - all other spaces and facilities shared
4. Private RV used as a bedroom with a toilet - all other spaces and facilities shared
5. Private bedroom with a toilet - all other spaces and facilities shared
6. Private RV used as a bedroom with a toilet and bathing facilities - all other spaces and facilities shared
7. Private bedroom with a toilet and bathing facilities - all other spaces and facilities shared
8. Private RV used as a bedroom with a toilet, bathing facilities, kitchen, and dining area - all other spaces and facilities shared
9. Private apartment with with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and dining area - all other spaces and facilities shared
10. Private RV used as a bedroom with a toilet, bathing facilities, kitchen, dining area, and laundry - all other spaces and facilities shared
11. Private apartment with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, dining area, and laundry - all other spaces and facilities shared
12. Private home with one bedroom and one bathroom - access to all shared facilities
13. Private home with two bedrooms and one bathroom - access to all shared facilities
14. Private home with two bedrooms and two bathrooms - access to all shared facilities
15. Private home with three bedrooms and two bathrooms - access to all shared facilities
16. Private home with four bedrooms and two bathrooms - access to all shared facilities

Vote Now

Do not reply to this message to vote in the poll. You can vote in polls only through the group's website.


Re: Mirador Astronomy Village Living Accommodations #poll

David Oesper
 

Sharon,

Asking “why rentals?” you’ve touched upon an essential feature of Mirador Astronomy Village. I will speak to that, but first a few words about location.

Despite our best efforts to contain it, light pollution is getting worse almost everywhere. It is getting increasingly difficult to find places to live that are not significantly affected by it, and they are usually not only rural but remote.

My dream with Mirador is to help create a community in a (necessarily) remote area with a pristine view of the night sky and a natural nighttime environment that can be enjoyed and appreciated each and every night—something that is simply not available within the perpetual twilight “fog” in our cities and towns.

Why rental? Because I believe strongly that everyone who wants to live at Mirador should be able to afford to live at Mirador. Increasingly, retirees are renting instead of owning their homes. And, for young people, home ownership is out of reach for many and they must rent.

Many astronomy-enthusiasts I know (myself included) would never be able to afford a $300K-$400K home, would never be able to buy a piece of land and build a new house on it, and would never be able to have two homes, one in “civilization” and one in a remote area.

Mirador Astronomy Village as we envision it (https://miradorastrovillage.org/mirador.pdf) would function best as a proprietary community and that requires that everyone living there rents. Bennett can best explain the many advantages of a proprietary community, but for me the most important benefit is that it will be easy for people to move in and move out as life circumstances change. Want to give Mirador a trial run? Easy. Getting on in years and need to move closer to family? Easy. And so on.

How to finance an all-rental development? I’ve been asking myself that question almost every day for the past several months. It is certainly the most difficult problem we need to solve before we can move this project forward. I don’t have the answer yet.

I know that in cities, all-rental developments get built all the time. Apartment buildings, for example, and now, more recently, build-to-rent (B2R) neighborhoods where all the new homes are rental. How are they financed? Is there any way to apply those financing methods to a small development in a remote area?

Dave

Re: EcoReality Wiki Example

David Oesper
 

Jan Steinman shared some additional information about the EcoReality website:

"Please feel free to share the website with anyone. It used MediaWiki, the open-source software behind Wikipedia. It is great for collaborative work. The ecovillage components map is an extension that uses the open-source “GraphViz” package, and is editable by anyone who can log in. I’ve also written a MySQL database extension that is used extensively on our site — just about anywhere you see a table is a live view of the database."

Participatory Design: How Designing Together Can Bring You Together

David Oesper
 

Mary Kraus, a cohousing architect in Amherst, Massachusetts, presented a session on participatory design as part of “The Heart of Community” Coho/US webinar series presented on May 30, 2020.

The context of her talk is the weekend workshops she does for cohousing groups to help them through the process of designing their community—particularly the common house. Besides future community members and prospectives, the local architect hired for the project is also in the room for the weekend workshop.

Often prospective members of the community are invited to the workshop. The workshop can be a good marketing opportunity and a way to recruit additional members, as they witness you as a group working together.


Many cohousing communities share regular meals together in the common house. The majority of your community’s work will be in preparing and cleaning up after common meals.

A “typical” size of a cohousing common house is 4,000 sq. ft. A central island in the common house kitchen is often a good idea. Some communities have a commercial dishwasher and sometimes a commercial kitchen as well.

Cohousing communities have a main gathering area in the commons, the outdoor “living room” of your community. Some key considerations for this area are providing shade and wind protection.


At the weekend workshops, survey questions on a number of possible community features are provided to participants. The answer choices are standard and do a good job of gauging sentiment.

black_square_button Yes, definitely

black_square_button Yes, probably

black_square_button Neutral

black_square_button No, probably not

black_square_button No, definitely not

black_square_button Unsure

We could do something similar here by adding more polls to our polls section.


Mary Kraus acts as the workshop facilitator, and there are ground rules, of course.

Ground Rules

  • Emotions OK, Aggression Not

  • Listen for Understanding

  • Hands to Speak

  • When in Doubt, Facilitator Decides

  • Silence = Assent

  • If Confused, Ask

  • Stay On Topic

  • Let Others Speak Before You Speak Again

  • No Side Conversations

  • Only Equity Members Can Block Consensus


During the workshop, it is important to tap into your own vision—and to hear everyone else’s visions.

Features can be prioritized using printed cards.


As each new idea is presented during the workshop, the “temperature” of members of the group can be measured by using the following answer choices.

black_square_button Love it

black_square_button Like it

black_square_button Don’t like it, but can live with it

black_square_button Can’t live with it


Workshop topics can include the

  • Vision statement

  • Site

  • Common house

  • Individual unit design

The site and common house are the most important to discuss using this workshop format.

Design your common house first so the initial focus is on community and what you’re sharing.


A consideration: Some cohousing communities have associate members who serve important community functions but don’t live in the community. You may want to give them access to some or all of the common facilities. People working in your community but not living there, for example.

Re: Mirador Astronomy Village Living Accommodations #poll

David Oesper
 

One clarification about # of bedrooms in the poll. A bedroom would be any room that could be used as a bedroom, or for some other purpose such as an office or hobby room. The size of some or all of the bedrooms may be smaller in the Mirador cohousing community than in a "typical" largish single family home. Not necessarily so, but they could be.

Dave

Ted Turner Reserves - Big Happenings in New Mexico

David Oesper
 

Take a look at this:

https://tedturnerreserves.com/

An opportunity for us, somehow??

Re: Mirador Astronomy Village Living Accommodations #poll

Bennett Jones
 

Dave,
Another point of consideration - If Mirador follows the LC Model, there is no reason to have "guest" Bed Rooms, as extra are available on site for rental as needed. The same would hold for someone who plans to expand their family size at some point in the future, you may wait and add additional adjoining Bed Rooms only when and as needed. And remember, any resident may rent a private office in the Administration Building or a private room in the Shop Building. There could be less than completely private versions of Office and Hobby Room that could be available at reduced cost. These could also be available for short term use, on an as needed basis (great for projects of limited duration). Presumably some residents would at times travel away from Mirador. Think about not having to pay rent on guest Bed Rooms, Office, Hobby Room, extra Bath Rooms, etc. while you are off on a four week trip (and having the option to rent out your own Bed Room if you are going to be away - things happen).

Bennett

On Monday, June 15, 2020, 06:12:14 PM CDT, David Oesper via groups.io <oesper@...> wrote:


One clarification about # of bedrooms in the poll. A bedroom would be any room that could be used as a bedroom, or for some other purpose such as an office or hobby room. The size of some or all of the bedrooms may be smaller in the Mirador cohousing community than in a "typical" largish single family home. Not necessarily so, but they could be.

Dave

Re: Ted Turner Reserves - Big Happenings in New Mexico

Bennett Jones
 

Dave,
An opportunity in what way?

Bennett

On Monday, June 15, 2020, 06:35:29 PM CDT, David Oesper via groups.io <oesper@...> wrote:


Take a look at this:

https://tedturnerreserves.com/

An opportunity for us, somehow??

Re: Ted Turner Reserves - Big Happenings in New Mexico

David Oesper
 

A shared vision?

Opportunity for collaboration?

Job opportunities for us if we locate our astronomy community nearby?

Obviously, they are catering to a wealthy clientele, but the fact that Ted Turner has purchased over a million acres in New Mexico and set aside most of it for conservation is admirable. I didn't even know this existed until yesterday.

Follow the money and you will learn...

Dave