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December 5, 2001

Living the cohousing way

Cornerstone Cohousing, Cambridge’s second co-housing community, has completed its first phase of construction and the first occupants moved in during Thanksgiving week and the following weeks.

Three buildings with 19 living units will be occupied by December, with the fourth building of 13 units scheduled for completion in February 2002. Two units still remain available for purchase.

" We’re happy to finally be moving in after a long time of planning, " said Jeb Mays, who as one of the founding members has been active in the planning process since 1994, " and we will invite our neighbors to come visit as soon as we’re settled in. "

Cohousing focuses on cooperative planning, design and maintenance by community members. Cornerstone Cohousing calls itself " an intentional, collaborative community which fosters a less consumer-oriented lifestyle and encourages spontaneous interaction " between members. Cornerstone includes a central common house for shared dinners and other community activities. Each household also occupies a complete home with a full kitchen, so members can opt for privacy or sociability as desired.

The construction on Harvey Street in North Cambridge began in October 2000 and will continue through the winter. The site occupies one and half acres at the intersection of Harvey Street, the Linear Park, and Russell Field.

Cornerstone’s cross-town compatriot is Cambridge Cohousing, a 41-household community which formed several years ago. Their community, on Richdale Avenue near Porter Square, was the first urban cohousing community in the eastern United States. There is also a cohousing community in Acton and three more forming in Eastern Massachusetts, plus several in Western Massachusetts and on Martha’s Vineyard. Across the U.S., there are currently over 90 cohousing communities and several dozen more in the planning stages.

The construction process for Cornerstone involved the site’s neighbors regularly, and many have come to Cornerstone’s Open Houses to see how the project turned out.

" We’re planning to invite all of our neighbors for a morning coffee once we have a space available, maybe in early spring, " said Rosemary Kennedy, another long-time member. " Being active in our extended community will be very important to us. The opportunity to move into such an alive, active community is one of the things that attracted me to Cornerstone. "

— Cornerstone resident Jesse Gordon, an environmental planner for the Environmental Protection Agency, is pleased his new home borders the bicycle path, so residents can walk to Alewife without crossing any streets.


Watch MetroWest Daily News managing editor Joe Dwinell's live report on WB-56 every Thursday and Friday at 7:45 a.m.

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