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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,freda BS: Religious Freedom vs. Local Zoning Laws (100* d) RE: BS: Religious Freedom vs. Local Zoning Laws 30 Sep 04

i just typed up a big response to this one, which went into a black hole when mudcat went down! but thanks to mudcat's back door, here i am to try again!

(back door? try..

i worked in the housing co-op movement in nsw for many years. i live in an inner city artists co-op in sydney, which we designed and created ourselves, selecting architects and builders to create the community we wanted. our co-op spans between two streets, we have a huge open back yard, and a communal laundry, office and small hall.

There are around 50 co-ops in city and rural areas in NSW with between 5-30 dwellings per co-op. Some co-ops are located in one building while others live in separate houses within one suburb.there are several warehouse conversions in the inner city. Co-ops here have been formed by people from a range of backgrounds as diverse as the Hmong from Laos, South Sea Islanders, people from Latin America, Arabia, India, Vietnam, and the Philipines. we have co-ops for older people, co-ops for students, co-ops for singles, co-ops for families.

i have been involved in pushing for planning which allows for different groupings, more connections and less isolated, nuclear forms of living. there has been a lot of negotiation with different councils over time. the inner city council that assisted us has since been amalgamated into a much larger one. but the local council was good, and worked positively with us and our architects. as we live in an area of high density housing, we managed to get what we had hoped for, with some concessions on both sides.

in my co-op, we each have our own self contained apartment, except for the laundry. in my experience, communal living works best when people have as few rules as possible to restrict them. Some set ups ive seen include families buying houses a street away - close, but not too close, or people with adjoining back yards who open it all up (we've done this here). you would be surpised how people who have the same philosophy can interpret that very differently.

here in Oz, we call people who are opposed to innovative housing NIMBYs (Not in My Back Yard) - i guess thats probably an international term. i look forward to a century of better housing in all ways, both in building design and in creative planning. Rabbi-Sol, there are so many architects who want to work with people to design more creative forms of living. but when youre dealing with pushing for different styles of living, what you experience as a religious or cultural issue, others are interpreting as a planning issue. ít is also worth looking at the restrictions, and seeing what can be achieved within them. We achieved a great community by playing a few games, not challenging certain things, but achieving them without confrontation. another group of artists never made their community happen, because they werent prepared to compromise.

good luck with it all,


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