September 2022

Hi folks,

An interesting month. Tangentially, one of us attended a workshop on using Open Data for Green purposes. Fun. We also attended a briefing on the implications of GDPR (privacy law) for housing associations.

Had another chat with someone interested in cohousing – and coincidentally bumped into a few former members at the same cafe! So the chat was a bit richer than it would have been otherwise. Later on in the month, we had a chat with a chap who’s interested in making a “factory” for smoothly churning out housing co-ops. As it turned out, he wasn’t interested in the MHOS type of cohousing model, but I referred him on to the Confederation of Co-operative Housing.

Towards the end of the month, we attended the launch of a housing-centred video art project. Footage from the sixties onwards. Showing some shocking stuff, including at least one video of poor housing conditions at the time here in Birmingham.

One of us did quite a big piece of work about financial modelling. In 2021, the then Birmimgham Community Cohousing had an estimate of the costs of building works prepared, on the basis of five houses, 11 apartments, and a separate community house. Those costs were unaffordable. We’ve had an intuition that things would be more affordable (and thermally efficient) if the whole project was developed as two sets of apartment blocks, with community spaces contained within the apartment blocks. So we re-developed the spreadsheet, using the new scenario and the old costs (with an allowance for inflation) in the hope that it would be more affordable. And the answer was… yes… but only marginally. The next task is to get some new estimates, perhaps from people using different build technologies. Watch this space!

We also had our usual business meetings.

Published by CoHoWM

Cohousing West Midlands is (surprise) a cohousing project for the West Midlands! Cohousing is where everyone has their own front door, but there's also a community house for weekly shared meals and activities, and other shared spaces. More than a Housing Association, and less than a co-op!

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