Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Road Is Taking Shape!

Exciting to see the road in the finishing stages. This photo is looking southeast from up near where the commonhouse will be. Rather than a practical straight lane, this Prairie Hill lane has lovely curves.

A Bio about our Latest New Member - Craig Mosher

I grew up in Iowa City, went to Antioch College in Ohio to study chemistry (pre-med), then to Columbia in New York for a doctoral program in psychology and anti-war demonstrating. In the early 1970s I helped create a 200-person intentional community in an abandoned candy factory in San Francisco and developed a love for helping create community. Then for 25 years I directed social service agencies, taught social work, did low-income housing development with Habitat and others, and helped raise a family in eastern Iowa. Two of my four children and five grandkids live in Iowa City so I will have lots of time with them!

I like to think of myself as a resilient sustainable community developer. I retired after eleven years teaching social work at Luther College where I taught social policy, community organizing, and systems theory and took students to Des Moines to lobby the legislature, and to Scandinavia to study sustainability and the future that lies ahead—as climate change and a changing economy transform our world.

I see Prairie Hill as a remarkable opportunity to learn how a cohousing project like this can become a resilient, sustainable community, which is ecological and efficient in design and, more importantly, provides opportunities for the growth of a close-knit community where people build relationships and trust so that we care for each other, draw upon each other’s strengths and skills, and support each other’s needs. I’m excited to imagine gardening together, charging our shared all-electric cars with solar electricity, and caring for each other over the years.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

High Technology: Smart Antennae Guides Grader Blade on our Emerging Landscape

Member David Tucker took this photo on Tuesday evening from near the top of our building site.You can see one person still working on a bulldozer to the right. Attached to the post in the center of this picture is what looks like a Trimble Antennae - maybe an SPS585 GNSS Smart Antennae - which is part of a GNSS-based guidance system that controls the blade of a grader so that the grading will be accurate.

The wire next to the post runs down to what looks like a large car or marine battery on the ground. You can see the Trimble receiver mounted on a high pole at the front of the bulldozer.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Polished Concrete Floors - A Good Choice for our Commonhouse

We are seriously considering using Polished Concrete flooring in our commonhouse as well as some of our individual units. It's a "green" choice, has low maintenance, is durable, and is more attractive than you might think. If you'd like to know more, here's a good link:

Field Trip on Friday!
We expect construction on the Prairie Hill commonhouse to begin very soon, and we've decided to see a variety of  polished concrete flooring to help us in decision-making. This Friday, May 12, we are taking a tour of several local businesses that have chosen polished concrete in their buildings. If you're interested in joining us, please email for more details. We'll be starting at 4:30 on the west side of Iowa City, and will end up in North Liberty to see one last floor in a restaurant where we can also share a meal.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Grand Celebration on Prairie Hill Site

On Friday, April 21, Great Western Bank sponsored a celebration to mark the completion of our construction loan with them. They are proud to be financing the first cohousing community in Iowa, and we are delighted to have the loan application over and accepted. Steve Schmidt, our general contractor, cleared off an area on the east side of the infrastructure work, and a canopy was set up. Tables were spread with delicious edibles, and champagne was served to toast the project and our wonderful professionals who have all helped make Prairie Hill Cohousing possible.

Here is a list of all the professionals who were able to make it to the celebration. Of course, there are many others who have been part of the work and were not present but who are equally appreciated.

Great Western Bank: Rick Oehler, Melissa Schooley and Patrick Donnelly

Apex Construction: Steve Schmidt, General Contractor

John Shaw, architect

C-Wise Designing and Consulting: Martha Norbeck, architect and LEED consultant

Housing Trust Fund of Johnson County: Tracey Achenbach and Casey Cooper (staff). Ellen Habel and Jerry Anthony (board of directors)

The Housing Fellowship: Maryann Dennis, Executive Director. Mike Dennis and Silas Hugill (staff)

City of Iowa City: Jim Throgmorton, Mayor

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Cohousing: An Antidote to Isolation

We will all experience loneliness at some point in our lives, but it doesn't stem from being alone. It comes from a lack of connection. Loneliness can be the result of our built environments, the very homes we choose to live in, says architect Grace Kim. She notes that many of us live in homes where we don't really know our neighbors, which can contribute to a sense of isolation. An increasing number of people are choosing to live instead in cohousing spaces, where they still have their own home but share indoor and outdoor spaces with neighbors. "It's not a new concept; it's an age-old way of living," says Kim. And in a time when loneliness has been called a public health epidemic, with isolated individuals facing a higher risk of death, the stakes couldn't be higher. "Cohousing could save your life," she says.
From Fast Company: Are Dorms For Adults The Solution To The Loneliness Epidemic?

Grace Kim imagines a future of cohousing as an antidote to social isolation.
Photo by Bret Hartman/TED

She speaks at TED2017, April 26, 2017, Vancouver, BC Canada: