October cohousing workday supports cohousing community

Enjoying a meal outside Meal prep at its finest Cleaning common work area BSC member adding a coat of paint to swing set BSC member hedging at Cornerstone BSC Member gardening at Cornerstone BSC Member raking fall leaves

A Cohousing Workday

BSC member weeding at Cornerstone
BSC member weeding at Cornerstone

Members of Cornerstone Village Cohousing have graciously opened their doors and allowed Bay State Commons cohousing to host meetings twice a month in their common house area. In order to show appreciation and give back to our hosts, on a Saturday in late October members of Bay State Commons cohousing joined the residents of Cornerstone for an on-site workday. There were many indoor and outdoor projects to tackle in order to prepare their common facilities, green space, and gardens for winter. This included trimming back plants of all sizes, raking, pulling weeds, painting, and sweeping.

Fun Fact

Cornerstone was a featured stop on a 2017 ‘Secret Gardens of Cambridge’ community tour, something Cornerstone’s urban gardeners are proud of.

Urban Green Space

It was a beautiful day to be outdoors. Working people laughed, shared stories, and in many instances got down in the dirt and connected with a large green space, something that is generally uncommon in an urban setting. It was a great model for Bay State Commons cohousing members to see. Similar to Cornerstone, the future Bay State Commons site is in a similar semi-urban setting. Our project is also envisioned to maximize outdoor green space.

BSC cohousing member raking fall leaves
Raking fall leaves

Work-day participants also connected over a tasty lunch prepared by several Bay State Commons volunteer chefs. Overall the workday was a success, and we want to thank Cornerstone for their generosity in allowing us to use their common space for our meetings. They continue to support and inspire us as we move forward and envision our own future building and community green space.

 

Bay State Commons cohousing members in action

BSC cohousing member cleaning common work area
Cleaning common work area
BSC cohousing member adding a coat of paint to swing set
Adding a coat of paint to swing set
BSC cohousing member hedging at Cornerstone
BSC member hedging at Cornerstone
BSC cohousing member - Meal prep at its finest
Meal prep at its finest
BSC cohousing member enjoying a meal outside
Enjoying a meal outside
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Supporting sustainability at Bay State Commons: A snapshot of the ECo team

View of GreenBuild Expo

Scoping out solar parking canopy 171201_BCC_SolarPiping View of GreenBuild Expo ECo team visiting GreenBuild Expo Nov 8th

In November and December, the Bay State Commons Environmental Committee (ECo) supported BSC sustainability efforts by attending several expos and events, and considered different efficiency and clean energy options for the Bay State Commons project.

Sustainability at work: ECo team visiting GreenBuild Expo Nov 8th
Environment Committee (ECo) members Christine, Trudy and Elizabeth visit Solar Flower booth at 2017 GreenBuild

Several ECo members went to the Boston GreenBuild Expo on November 8th, where they visited company booths for a range of technologies, including electric vehicle charging stations, bike racking systems, new wall insulation techniques, and efficient building heat pump systems, among others.

On December 1st, several members participated in a tour of the new Bristol Community College’s net zero health and science center. The building uses a large ground-source heat pump system, solar hot water and solar electric panels, and has a tightly sealed building envelope.

Sustainability at work: BSC ECo members 'looking under the hood' at piping during tour
BSC ECo members ‘looking under the hood’ at piping during net-zero building tour
Sustainability at work: Scoping out solar parking canopy
Checking out solar parking canopy

Lastly, ECo and other BSC members plan to visit a new multi-family net zero project in Boston that has several features in common with our project. Although our project may not be net zero, we are envisioning a space that will be comfortable for members, have a reduced carbon footprint, and lower heating and cooling costs over time. ECo members intend to continue to support sustainability efforts, and have a lot of fun in the process.

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November 2017 Newsletter Update – Bay State Commons Forging Ahead On Schedule

Model of the ground floor of the common house, mid-2017.
Model of the ground floor of the common house, mid-2017.

Bay State Commons Cohousing is forging ahead on schedule, and is looking for new members to join as we move towards construction.  We have finished the design sessions with our architects, who will now be converting our conceptual design to building plans which can be submitted to the city for approval.

Before the design is finished we have 15 “small” design issues to resolve at our meetings.   Do we want a fireplace and if so, a wood or gas fireplace?  How do we handle trash and recycling?  Do we want a metal roof?  Would a ground source heat pump work for us? Etc.

Near the end of 2017, we will formally apply for project permitting from the City of Malden. Between now and then, we have time to work out some final design details and focus on marketing. Of our community’s envisioned 30 units, we have now sold 14, and 5 households have expressed an intent to become an ‘Equity Member’ and commit to purchase a unit.

By the end of January 2018, we will execute our option to buy 368 Pleasant Street and become its owners. By early to mid-2018, we hope to complete permitting and construction financing. At that time, we would break ground and begin construction on our new homes. If all goes according to plan, the new community’s doors will open in mid-2019.

If you are interested in learning more about this exciting project, send us an email, or come to one of our every-other week planning meetings or upcoming social events to learn more and get involved!  www.baystatecommons.org or baystatecommons@gmail.com

Hope to be in contact!

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Bay State Commons on Boston.com

Peter Goldstein, the founder of Boston’s newest cohousing initiative, Bay State Commons, is grateful for the wider community. “Every single time that you speak to people who have been involved in cohousing, they will give you their hard-won pieces of wisdom about what to do and not to do,” Goldstein said.

BOSTON.COM

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Bay State Commons in the Huffington Post

For Goldstein, and others like him, intentional communities can be the antidote to a prevailing model of society that they find constraining or unfulfilling — a model that presents marriage, a house, 2.5 kids and a prosperous career as hallmarks of a fruitful adulthood. “When I look back on parts of my life when I have felt fulfilled, or where I’ve produced the most positive memories, they have always been times when I’m involved in some kind of tight-knit community,” Goldstein said.

HUFFINGTON POST

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What Is Cohousing?

“Cohousing is a type of collaborative housing in which residents actively participate in the design and operation of their own neighborhoods. Cohousing residents are consciously committed to living as a community. The physical design encourages both social contact and individual space. Private homes contain all the features of conventional homes, but residents also have access to extensive common facilities such as open space, courtyards, a playground, and a common house with a large kitchen and dining room/meeting room and other facilities.”

Characteristics

These characteristics serve to distinguish cohousing from other types of collaborative housing:

  • Participatory process
  • Neighborhood design
  • Common facilities
  • Resident management
  • Non-hierarchical governance structure and decision-making
  • No shared community economy

There are more than 100 cohousing communities in the United States with many others around the world. The best source of information is the website of the Cohousing Association of the United States (CohoUS).

 

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Bay State Commons Meets with New Neighbors

Bay State Commons Logo

July 2017 Newsletter

Malden Cohousing Group Meets with Future Neighbors

Moving one step closer to bringing cohousing to Malden, the future residents of Bay State Commons recently held a successful open meeting with abutters and other Maldonians to discuss the group’s proposed condominium development outside Malden Square.

Bay State Commons is a growing cohousing group currently comprised of sixteen households of local individuals, couples, and families planning to redevelop the American Legion property at 368 Pleasant Street, Malden. Diverse in backgrounds, ages, and interests, all members desire to live in a community based on shared values such as environmental sustainability, social bonds between neighbors, and mutual respect.

Cohousing balances community and privacy, creating a traditional neighborhood designed and developed by residents working with innovative architects. There are currently 165 cohousing communities nationally, 12 in Massachusetts. Drawn by shared ideals, a cohousing group typically forms well before purchasing a site and developing housing on it. Bay State Commons is no different. Formed in 2013 and organized as an LLC in 2014, BSC currently holds an option to purchase the American Legion site, with plans to build 26 to 30 owner-occupied condominiums—plus shared common facilities for weekly group meals, childcare, and other activities—designed by Boston-based French 2D and Neshamkin French Architects. The group will be submitting its development proposal to the City of Malden for approval once the city’s current building moratorium expires, and hopes to move into the new complex in 2019.

Attendees at the open meeting listened to a presentation on the group’s plans, viewed sketches and models of the planned building, and got to know their future neighbors. The meeting is part of Bay State Commons’ continued dialogue with Malden and local residents.

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July 2017 Newsletter Update – Bay State Commons to Meet with Future Neighbors

Meeting at Cornerstone Cohousing

MALDEN, MA (July 13, 2017)—Moving one step closer to bringing cohousing to Malden, the future residents of Bay State Commons recently held a successful open meeting with abutters and other Maldonians to discuss the group’s proposed condominium development outside Malden Square.

Bay State Commons is a growing cohousing group currently comprised of sixteen households of local individuals, couples, and families planning to redevelop the American Legion property at 368 Pleasant Street, Malden. Diverse in backgrounds, ages, and interests, all members desire to live in a community based on shared values such as environmental sustainability, social bonds between neighbors, and mutual respect.

Cohousing balances community and privacy, creating a traditional neighborhood designed and developed by residents working with innovative architects. There are currently 165 cohousing communities nationally, 12 in Massachusetts. Drawn by shared ideals, a cohousing group typically forms well before purchasing a site and developing housing on it. Bay State Commons is no different. Formed in 2013 and organized as an LLC in 2014, BSC currently holds an option to purchase the American Legion site, with plans to build 26 to 30 owner-occupied condominiums—plus shared common facilities for weekly group meals, childcare, and other activities—designed by Boston-based French 2D and Neshamkin French Architects. The group will be submitting its development proposal to the City of Malden for approval once the city’s current building moratorium expires, and hopes to move into the new complex in 2019.

Attendees at the open meeting listened to a presentation on the group’s plans, viewed sketches and models of the planned building, and got to know their future neighbors. The meeting is part of Bay State Commons’ continued dialogue with Malden and local residents.

To learn more and get involved, send us an email, or come to one of our every-other week planning meetings or upcoming social events!  www.baystatecommons.org or baystatecommons@gmail.com

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January 2017 Newsletter Update – Designing our Future Home

(January, 2017) Bay State Commons engaged in a design workshop to determine the sizes in square feet of the living units – studios, 1 -, 2 -, and 3 – bedrooms, with the guidance of our architects Neshamkin French Architects, and French 2D.

Unit Design Layout Discussion
Members of Bay State Commons discuss different design layouts for the individual units

Our second workshop tackled the common spaces indoors and outdoors. High priorities for the outdoors are spaces gardens and play areas for children with as much open space as possible on a site of less than an acre.  This means that at least part of the building will be 3 or 4 stories high, perhaps staggered to the back to two stories.

As part of the indoor common space design we want a kitchen and a dining area that can be used for large meetings, for

Connect the rooms
Participants got to consider different configurations for the different unit types

performance space and optional group meals. We also want a young children’s play room, homework and hangout spaces for older children, space for meetings formal and informal, for music, for arts and crafts, a café, an adults only pub, and workshops for fixing things, wood-working, clay (messy), and electronics. We are really excited to play a part in building our future home. More to come!

To learn more and get involved, send us an email, or come to one of our every-other week planning meetings or upcoming social events!  www.baystatecommons.org or baystatecommons@gmail.com

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