Pocket Communities

Cooperative Living

Pocket Communities

Big in the 70s & early 80s cooperatives provided a way that people could live affordably in member-owned townhouses, row houses, and apartment buildings. They have fallen out of fashion over time. The majority of the tenants are members that live in them and leaving the coop is more complicated than leaving a traditional rental. Also as they are a type of rental building, over time, they become tired and worn, often requiring renovations that the cooperative has not planned for.

Pocket Community cooperatives provide an affordable solution for living in a city, in a tiny home. The cooperative owns and manages the property, with some sites occupied by cooperative members and other sites rented to non-member tiny home owners. As coops are nonprofit organizations, site rentals for members and non-members are expected to be affordable, while offering in-city living. The tiny home cooperative does not face the eventual renovations that make traditional ones unappealing over time, as the actual tiny home is owned by the individuals, not the cooperative.

Pros

  • Cities can increase density without major infrastructure changes
  • Tiny home Pocket Communities can easily be reversed by returning the property to a single residential property.

  • The cost to develop Pocket Community can be shared between the cooperative and city to provide additionally affordable, higher density housing.

  • Pocket Communities can include city-financed homeless shelter housing as part of their contribution requirements to the cooperative.
  • Pocket Communities can provide affordable accommodation for seniors, in an urban setting while allowing them to maintain their independence.

Cons

  • Cities will need to identify Pocket Community addressing for emergency services
  • Cities will need to develop standards for the Cooperative Pocket Community to operate within the city
  • Cities will need to inspect the site to ensure the connections and site continue to meet their standards
  • Cooperative members will need to be able to transfer their ownership should they wish to leave the cooperative
  • Cooperatives will need to be setup and initial members found and convinced to invest in this housing model.

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Latest Post

18 May 2019
Last fall I presented to the Canadian Institute of Planners at their World Town Planning Day Conference about tiny homes as 21st-century affordable housing. The presentation was aimed at city planners and focused on why they should plan for tiny...

TTA Commentary

We are investigating how a Cooperative can be set up that would own and manage multiple Pocket Community sites. This would allow members to move to different locations, possibly even in different cities and live in a community owned by the cooperative that they are a member of. As Pocket Communities are established, we will post information about them on the Association city sites they are located within.