We are a group of local folks working to create a new housing alternative in Iowa City. We are planning a neighborhood based on the "cohousing" model which started in Denmark and has now spread worldwide. There are hundreds of cohousing communities in the U.S, Canada, Australia, Sweden, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium, Austria and elsewhere. We want the next one to be here in Iowa City.
We started meeting in 2009 to explore alternatives to traditional housing arrangements. We all share an interest in living in a community that reflects our values. We want a living arrangement that will allow us to reap the benefits of community life and still retain our privacy.
After a lot of reading and discussion, field trips, and consultation, we found the Danish cohousing model incorporated just about everything we were looking for:
- A multi-generational community
- Social and economic diversity
- Community and privacy
- Green buildings with a small carbon footprint
- Jointly-owned common spaces with shared resources
- Emphasis on alternative transportation
Our community will include 36 eco-friendly residences clustered around a shared pedestrian-only green space within a short walk of community gardens. Each household will have a private kitchen as well as access to shared facilities in a "common house" with a large kitchen and dining area where we can cook together and share meals several times a week. The common house will include guest rooms as well as meeting spaces, and shared work spaces where we can swap tools and talents.
Where we are in the process
We have purchased 7.8 acres of land as the site for our community which we've christened Prairie Hill. It's located on the west side of the river just a mile and a half from downtown Iowa City, within walking/biking distance to campus. The site is near city and university bus stops. Come see some photos!
The project has been approved by the Iowa City Planning and Zoning Commission as well as Iowa City Council.
In April, 2016, we cleared the land in preparation for building, and in November we held our official groundbreaking festivities. You can watch the progress on our Facebook page.
See the site plan
Together with the architect, the engineer, and Iowa City staff, we have developed a site plan which shows the configuration of the homes as well as the placement of the common house, parking, orchards, and community gardens. See the site plans (PDF format).
Our building plans
Our architect, John Shaw, has designed a spectacular common house which includes a large dining room and kitchen, shared work spaces, and four 515-square-foot studio apartments.
He has also submitted drawings for the individual homes which will nestle into our hillside. Homes will vary in size from 645-1600 square feet. There will be a combination of two-story duplex units, attached one-level townhomes, and what we're calling "stacked flats." The stacked flats are fourplexes with two units on the upper level, and two on the lower level.
Though our timeline is uncertain, we are hoping to have the first homes ready to move into by fall of 2017.
Interested? Come join us!
If this sounds interesting to you, we would love to have you join us to learn more. We are seeking people who share our enthusiasm and are willing to invest the resources necessary to turn the vision into reality. Here's a link to information on how to get involved.