Western Drive CoHousing 812-834 Western Drive, Santa Cruz, CA
In 1995, GreenFarm
LP was selected by the founding members of the Western
Drive CoHousing community from several local developers to
guide a group that ultimately consisted of 16 families dedicated
to forming a cohousing project or “intentional community”
in Santa Cruz. The project site was five acres, of which three
acres were developable. One of the key features of the project
finances was that the developers agreed to provide the homes
to the buyers for a fixed price before all project costs were
finalized, a considerable challenge for the developers.
The site contained several unique environmental features,
such as a monarch butterfly habitat and an urban wild-fire
interface. There are a number of parallels to the Inclusion
Area D project, including the site design with parking on
the outer edges to provide uninterrupted open space in the
interior. This type of design can be more challenging to construct
then traditional development. After extensive discussions
with city staff and council members, the project was well
received by the city council.
This “intentional community” consists of 10 single-family
and six semi-detached cohousing units, a Common House and
shared open space. Each unit is located on a small lot with
a wraparound porch or “outdoor room” that overlooks
the network of footpaths and open space linking the community.
Parking is held to the edge of the site to maximize shared
open area and encourage pedestrian circulation. The Common
House, with its broad front porch facing the primary open
space, provides kitchen and dining facilities for shared meals,
a sitting room, guest room, laundry and a basement workshop.
of the project was initiated and guided by the residents,
who were inspired by their common vision of a more cooperative,
supportive living situation. The residents were intimately
involved in the project design, from the site planning stage
through selection of colors and finishes. The houses include
expandable attics and other options that allow each household
to meet their needs within the standardized design and overall
budget. The mix of single-family homes and semi-detached units
also made it possible for households with a broad range of
incomes to participate in the making of the new community.
View project photos