Be an Early Bird for the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Cohousing Annual Spring Bus Tour

Walking the pedestrian-friendly paths of a local cohousing community and conversing with the people who live there is, arguably, THE best way to get to know cohousing. One of the members of Good Tree Village went last year and it only stoked her desire to live in an intentional community.

Mid-Atlantic Cohousing’s Annual Spring Bus Tour is set to hit the road on Saturday, 18 May 2013 from 8:30AM – 6:30PM, visiting several cohousing communities throughout Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia. Whether you’re just checking out the cohousing concept, need to talk with someone about how to create a cohousing community, or you’re ready to move into an existing cohousing neighborhood, MAC’s bus tour will be expedition well worth your time. Register before April 7 to get early-bird pricing.

MAC Annual Spring Bus Tour 2013

Exciting Land Purchase Opportunity for Good Tree Village

For-Sale-SignGood Tree Village has an intriguing opportunity to purchase a little more than 2-acres. This location would be excellent for Good Tree Village because it is:

  • very affordable,
  • large enough to build a cohousing community of 12 single-family homes and a shared common house,
  • adjacent to a well-established, safe and active neighborhood,
  • within 7 miles of Prince George’s Muslim Association,
  • near Cheverly Metro Station (orange line),
  • convenient to I-295/BW Parkway and US Route 50,
  • 7 miles to downtown DC (Union Station),
  • close to shopping (Aldi, Wegmans, Costco, Best Buy),
  • 5 miles to Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex

The owner is expecting offers within the next two weeks, so this opportunity requires a quick turnaround. If you are interested in joining Good Tree Village to create the first Muslim cohousing community in Prince George’s county or for more details, contact Ishaq at 301.337.7171.

Within Reach: a Couple’s Journey to Find Sustainable Community in the U.S.

WithinReachMovie.com

Experience and discuss the future of sustainable community with the movie Within Reach, followed by conversation with Associate Producer Raines Cohen, at a near-Metro cohousing community. Warm up after the #ForwardOnClimate 350.org rally at the White House (and maybe park there beforehand and Metro in to avoid downtown traffic/parking challenges) and meet cohousers and cohousing professionals visiting from all over. Sponsored by Mid-Atlantic Cohousing, the regional group providing education about community in the greater DC area.

Raines Cohen is a Cohousing Coach and Cohousing California / East Bay Cohousing regional organizer in Berkeley, California. Raines’ friends Amanda and Ryan set out to make a documentary of a trip seeking sustainable community, visiting 100 Ecovillages, cohousing neighborhoods, co-ops, group houses, and more, all across the country…6500 miles by bicycle! Watch the trailer:

The movie is now available for community screenings, after several years in development. It focuses on ten key communities, including cohousing and spiritual communities, and includes animations about sustainable community.

… one man in the Berkeley Fundraiser Preview Premiere audience stood up and said:
“I fell in love with this country again.”

… Betsy Morris of East Bay Cohousing writes:
“A fabulous and inspiring movie. A new take on the great American road trip.”

… Josh Harper of New Hope Community in Oakland, California said:
“I was so inspired by your film tonight. The world is longing to know the truth you reveal in your journey. May it be seen by many.”

Learn more about the film (and get your own screening kit for your community) at www.WithinReachMovie.com.

Doors open at 6:30PM, film rolls at 7PM, with conversation to follow.

Suggested Donation $15, or $10 for members of Mid-Atlantic Cohousing member groups.

RSVP via the DC cohousing MeetUp to get sent the address and directions:
http://www.meetup.com/Washington-DC-Area-Cohousing/events/104796162/

Have you seen our advertisement in the The Muslim Link?

Would you like to…
DESIGN a community that reflects your values.
SOCIALIZE and worship with your neighbors.
INTERACT across generational & cultural boundaries.
SHARE community meals & activities.

GTVmuslimLinkAdPic

We’re seeking families and singles of all kinds to create the first Muslim cohousing community in the DC area. We’ve put an advertisement in The Muslim Link — a bi-weekly newspaper that is distributed throughout the Washington and Baltimore Metropolitan Areas — in an effort to reach out to those who are looking for cohousing, but don’t know (yet) that such an incredible concept exists or that others in the area are working on creating a Muslim cohousing community locally.

JOIN Good Tree Village!
Contact us to join or learn more.
Do you have a friend who may be interested?
phone: 301.541.3223 (Kori) or 301.337.7171 (Ishaq)
email: GoodTreeVillage [at] gmail [dot] com
facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GoodTreeVillage

You Might Be Interested in Good Tree Village If…

illustration credit: Nino Jose Heredia, Gulf News

  1. You’d like to live near Prince George’s Muslim Association
    You wouldn’t mind living in a close-knit community within 5 miles of one of the most culturally diverse and socially active Muslim communities in Prince George’s County: PGMA in Lanham, MD. A 5-mile radius includes cities such as Cheverly, College Park, Greenbelt, Hyattsville, Lanham, or New Carrollton.
  2. You are attracted to Cohousing
    You’d like to live in an intentional community composed of private homes supplemented by shared facilities. You are interested in planning, owning and managing the community by consensus and also sharing activities which may include cooking, dining, child care, gardening, and governance of the community. You’d be interested in having nearby common facilities like a community kitchen & dining room, laundry, guest rooms, community gardens and other green spaces. You understand how cohousing facilitates interaction among neighbors for social, practical benefits, economic and environmental benefit.

  3. You are drawn to Green Living
    You want to live lightly on the earth, reviving the tradition of being a steward of our shared planet. You try to reduce your consumption, recycle what you use, and find ways to reuse what you can.

    photo credit: green-muslims.org

  4. You are fascinated by Modern Design
    You like simplified design and use of natural elements tastefully paired with glass, steel and concrete in architecture. You dream about owning a home like those found in magazines like Dwell.

    image credit: ZeroEnergy.com
  5. You are concerned about Sustainable Housing
    You interested in learning about and implementing sustainable building tools and strategies like passive house standards, solar power, geothermal heating and cooling, passive solar design, water harvesting, using non-toxic materials, planting native species, and minimizing the disturbance of the natural habitat when building homes and other buildings.

If you connected with these five points, reach out to us by attending one of our work sessions or gatherings, emailing us at goodtreevillage [at] gmail [dot] com or giving us a ring: 301.541.3223 (Kori) or 301.337.7171 (Ishaq).

On the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Cohousing Bus Tour: Blueberry Hill

I know, I know: Blueberry Hill conjures up hip-gyrating images of Elvis. Or is it just me? This cohousing community is not a commune of worshipers of “The King” — at least they didn’t mention it — nor is it where Fats Domino retired from the proceeds of his biggest hit song. What may explain the name is Blueberry Hill’s location: it was built on 7 unfarmable acres of 23-acre Potomac Vegetable Farm, a certified organic farm in Vienna, VA. (A few of the owners even live in Blueberry Hill.)

It took six years of meeting two times every week to self-develop these 19 colorful homes clustered within a grove of mature trees. The houses are built around a walkable greenway made of grass block pavers that can support vehicles — like ambulances and moving trucks — that occasionally need closer access than the two peripheral parking lots afford. The houses range between 700 – 1100 square feet, but when walking through them, the open plan kitchen-dining-living room, the abundant light from numerous windows, and nine-foot ceilings give the homes a more expansive feeling. In addition, the wrap-around porches extend the living spaces outdoors. The geothermal HV/AC gives these modest units bills of no more than $75 a month.

A walkable greenway

One of Blueberry Hill’s many colorful homes.

Wrap-around porches invite neighbors to sit-n-chat.

Roomy open plan living spaces

A peek in the common house kitchen

While Chuck & Katie’s cohousing bible says build the common house first, Blueberry Hill’s common house was completed a couple of years after the last homes were finished in 2000. Even so, the common house seems to get the most use out of all the communities we visited that day, as the residents eat together 2 – 4 times a week. Not only do they eat together often, but the culinary magic happens in a relatively normal-sized kitchen. According to our guide, eating together often helps these neighbors develop good relationships so that there are less problems which can’t be quickly snuffed by a quick conversation.

The common house.

Common house dining room

A wall in the common house children’s area

Clustered mailboxes and a basketball hoop near a peripheral parking lot.

The residents include about 50 people: a little more than 30 adults from ages 20 – 70-something (including and handful of single heads of households), and a little less than 20 children. With all these people, Blueberry Hill has a pretty simple structure for getting things done around the community. There are three self-explanatory committees: indoor, outdoor, people and fun. It’s probably the fun committee that gives the necessary lubrication in the other committees.

The collection of homes — not the car — take center stage in this walkable community.

We visited many of the DC metro area’s cohousing communities on the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Cohousing Bus Tour. Up next is part four in this four-part series: Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington, DC.

Part 1: Eastern Village Cohousing, Silver Spring, MD
Part 2: Liberty Village Cohousing, Libertytown, MD
Part 3: Blueberry Hill Cohousing, Vienna VA
Part 4: Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington, DC

They say it’s work to get together after work, but not in cohousing. What do you do in your community to make it easy for neighbors to make stronger connections?

On the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Cohousing Bus Tour: Liberty Village

Next stop on the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Cohousing Bus tour was Liberty Village in Libertytown, MD, a hop, skip and a jump (about 10 miles) outside of Frederick.

Liberty Village began when a few of the community initiators invited Chuck & Katie (as architects Charles Durrett and Katie McCamant are called in cohousing circles) to speak. Much to everyone’s delight, about 30 people showed up! That meeting led to the construction of a self-developed, multi-generational cohousing community with mostly duplexes and a couple of single family homes.

The Common House

You’re almost guaranteed to have a quick chat with the neighbors in these common spaces: mailbox and play area.

Where are all the cars? Tucked away in the parking lot for a more walkable neighborhood.

Liberty Village boasts a more sophisticated community because of the duration its development. What’s the key to this community’s longevity? They make guidelines instead of rules. They take time to have discussions, getting concerns out ahead of time, and talk, talk, talk to work things out as opposed to avoiding conflict. When the decision has be made and it’s time to get things done, no one formally keeps track of who is doing how much, but everyone contributes in their own way. For example, some people like cooking meals and avoid outside work like the plague, but those who like to play in the dirt have free range to work knowing that they’ve got a scrumptious meal waiting in the community kitchen. Speaking of the kitchen, the folks in Liberty Village make time to eat together 1 – 2 times a week with four people on the cooking team for just one week a year. For those who like to eat, but not cook, those are some nice odds.

The footpaths are wide enough to drive to the front door when necessary, but even better for children to bicycle and play safely.

When cars are corralled to the periphery, carts make it easy to lug shopping to the doorstep.

An inviting invitation to eat alfresco.

If lively discussion and consensus decision-making in the setting of a charming, rural, sustainable community sounds enticing to you, contact Liberty Village because they are ready to add 10 more homes to the 18 already clustered on 8-acres. An additional 15 sprawling acres are set aside for wetlands, meadows and woods for man, woman, child and nature to share. The geothermal heating — which means low energy bills — are a definite added bonus. Other green benefits include community-wide recycling and composting, rain gardens and riparian buffers for natural water filtration, a warm season grass meadow that provides wildlife shelter and food, a 2.8 acre reforestation area of native trees and shrubs, a Chesapeake Bay-Wise Certification, and the Chicken Palace next to a community vegetable garden.

Community Garden and the Chicken Palace

The white poles indicate lots available for building,

From my quick visit there I got the feeling that a short and sweet mantra for Liberty Village might be to listen, contribute, and support your neighbor. When you move in and you see old Waldo waddling down those pedestrian-friendly footpaths, make sure you give him a gentle scratch behind the ears for me.

Using the wisdom of the group, Liberty Village Cohousing residents brought this model into reality.

Neighborhood children take a break from the kiddie pool in front of a spacious duplex.

We visited many of the DC metro area’s cohousing communities on the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Cohousing Bus Tour. Up next is part three in this four-part series: Blueberry Hill Cohousing in Vienna, VA.

Part 1: Eastern Village Cohousing, Silver Spring, MD
Part 2: Liberty Village Cohousing, Libertytown, MD
Part 3: Blueberry Hill Cohousing, Vienna VA
Part 4: Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington, DC

What about this rural, sustainable cohousing community appeals to you? What would you do differently?