So, co-op's often appeal to people who are looking for a cheaper place to live vs people looking for an investment (use vs investment value).
Above is part of a comment from Max, who left a few comments on this site on Monday. I think he gets straight to the essence of what I'm suggesting we do: build community-developed, affordable, green, multifamily housing (my list of adjectives is ever-expanding). The point here isn't to buy into a condo/townhouse as a starter home, sell it for a $100k profit in a year, then buy something nicer, ad infinitum; it is to create a community, that's easy on the earth and reasonably priced: to borrow a phrase from one of Max's links, a development that is "environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable" (Sustainable Community Associates). Circumventing the standard development process which, in Marx's (and probably Max's) thought, means applying abstract labor (marketing, PR, minimum profit margins, aka business), would give the residents more control over the outcome of the project and keep the prices within reach.
He also provided an older link to a similar community development project in Baltimore called Buy a Block. Some of you hippies (just kidding) might call this gentrification posing as community-building and that's a valid point. However, the concept of starting with a group of people that wants an affordable, urban home, and is open to creative methods, is very similar to what I envision.
Meanwhile, on the political front, I'm trying to decide what I think about the Senate's failure to slap Big Oil with windfall profit taxes. As of now, I'm thinking it may be a good thing if it reduces driving in genereal, increases the market for hybrid cars and buries SUVs, and gets more people on transit. Maybe it will help Obama come November?
I was disappointed to hear that the bill also would have taken tax breaks away from oil companies and provided tax incentives for producers of alternative energy (wind, solar, etc). I'm not sure if this would have applied to on-site production, as would likely be applicable to our development, but it's a shame nonetheless.