Boulder Co-living: What is it and why?

pollard coliving profile

The Boulder Co-living community is a proposed diverse income co-op housing / cohousing hybrid that is largely governed and managed by the residents

There are some estimates that up to two-thirds of renters across the nation say they can’t afford to buy a home. Since home prices are rising at a rate twice that of wage growth, saving up for that down payment is an even bigger challenge.

Millenials and GenXers with high student debt are in this boat, as are some older folks who for one reason or another were unable to build any extra savings.

In a high-cost place like Boulder, Colorado, if you didn’t get started here at least 25 years ago, or came to town with a big wad of money, finding a place to live is a challenge – and that’s an understatement.

The Boulder Co-living community is proposed as a place for neighbors with diverse incomes from as low as 50 percent of the area media income can live. The project proposal is planned for a small lot known as Quadrant 4 on the Boulder Junction former Pollard motors site generally located at 30th and Pearl Street, and submitted at the end of March.

The city of Boulder will evaluate proposals and hopes to have a project selected by the end of April.

We want to develop a list of people interested in the project, particularly potential owners. There have been a couple informational meetings and recorded as a youtube video you can view.

Check out and see if you’re eligible for the city of Boulder Affordable Housing program. Becoming qualified ahead of time will give you a head start, for any home you may find that meets your needs as part of this project or otherwise.

High-density communities, such as Boulder Co-living, are seen as one way to provide affordable housing to owners and renters. Two such configurations are “cohousing” and “co-op housing” will be hybridized in the Boulder Co-living community.

In a cohousing neighborhood, residents own their homes, but agree through a shared vision and list of values to maintain and operate their community through participation in activities like mowing the lawn, weeding the garden and shoveling snow, while enjoying each other’s company at shared meals a couple times a week.

Similarly, residents of a rental cooperative house have a high degree of social cohesion and teamwork. The residents typically govern through consensus and share responsibilities and resources. New members are typically selected by the community’s existing membership, rather than by real estate agents, property managers or non-resident landowners.

If you can’t afford to buy a home or your rent is too high how can Boulder Co-living meet your needs?

Research points to a variety of co-living benefits. The most often mentioned benefits relate to reducing social isolation. The co-living “secret sauce” provides for intentional socializing, neighborly support when a neighbor is under the weather; sharing chores, expertise; and having neighbors who share similar interests and values.

What is co-living “secret sauce”? Co-living has certain basic characteristics. They are fairly broad, but include:

  • Relationships – Neighbors commit to being part of a community for mutual benefit. Co-living cultivates a culture of sharing and caring. Design features facilitate community-member interaction.
  • Balancing Privacy and Community – Co-living communities are designed for privacy as well as community. Residents balance privacy and community by choosing their levels of community engagement.
  • Participation – Decision-making is participatory and often based on consensus. Selft management empowers residents, builds relationships and can save money.
  • Shared Values – Co-living communities support residents in actualizing shared values.

If you’re into energy efficiency; resource reuse and recycling; use your bike, feet, or bus to get yourself around, the Boulder Co-living community may be the place for you.

eGo Car Share service is handy, but for now, I’ll stick with the VW Eurovan

I don’t know if this car sharing service works in communities other than those with compact borders, but there’s always an eGo Car Share car parked on the corner in my neighborhood.

I’m still not fully confident in my driving – physically and automotive-wise. The Eurovan has had more than it’s share of problems, but I think it is finally getting to the point where I trust it.

The engine blew up in the middle of nowhere outside of Fort Washakie, Wyoming because the instrument panel had a short in it and wasn’t detecting engine temperature – although I could have checked under the hood more often (that was fixed under warranty). Many thanks to Gary Collins who towed the van from Lander.

The exhaust system is rotted out and that will be fixed tomorrow; it’s a manual transmission and I am gaining strength back in my clutch leg / foot and I put new rubber all the way around.

I’ve been exploring different transportation options, leasing from a dealer, selling the Eurovan and buying new; and the eGo Car Share. I haven’t had a new car since the 1970s and I don’t know what got into me that I would investigate one now!

Although I did become more fluent in the car leasing game. The current deals you see offered aren’t the best deals. I will check again at the end of the year for the 24 month lease with nothing down.

Even if I have to put a few hundred into a used vehicle, it’s still less expensive than maintaining a new one. Now that the Eurovan will soon be road worthy and a couple thousand bucks later, it may be worth using the loaner car from time to time.

The eGo Car Share is a local nonprofit company that owns a bunch of cars and trucks that get loaned out to Boulder and Denver users for an hourly rental charge. It must be a franchise of some sort.

At my first glance, the Car Share is best suited for a person who doesn’t own a car and just needs one to run a few errands, haul a load of dirt, etc.

People who don’t drive much already have a small carbon footprint, but for someone like me, it’s probably not the best option since I drive quite a bit in a single – occupancy vehicle.

But at least the Eurovan is bought and paid.

Since I’ve known about the service for some time, I decided to sign up to find out what it is all about.

It’s a simple enrollment process on the internet and once a guy has filled out the forms, taken a quiz about the service, a “fob” is mailed out which is used to lock and unlock the car. Once inside, the key is wired onto the steering column and away you go.

All you have to do is get approved, pay any monthly fees and then reserve a vehicle on line or call their office. If you’re looking for a particular kind of vehicle, say a van or pickup, then accessibility may not be as handy.

If a person doesn’t have a car or at least one that’s all paid off, this is a pretty good option. Included in the $4.50 to 6.95 hourly rate is a $250 deductible insurance plan and vehicle wear and tear. The rent maxes out at $39 to $49/day which is comparable to a car rental place.

You get 50 miles included then $.33 to $.38/mile after that. The person who uses the car when the gas tank gets to be about 1/4 full is responsible for filling up. There’s a credit card in the glove box to cover that cost.

Today, I drove a Honda Fit for a few errands to try out the program. For less than 10 bucks, I went to the office supply store, stopped off for a few groceries and dropped the car off in the Holiday Neighborhood.

How does this compare to renting at, say, Enterprise car rental where I do most of my business.

Depending on the season, an Enterprise intermediate or standard car rents for anywhere between $25 to $50 / day with unlimited mileage. You either buy their insurance or cover the rental under your own policy. Enterprise also has a $10/day weekend rate Friday through Monday during certain times of the year.

Renting a car is definitely cheaper than the Car Share for basically the same deal if a person wants to use it for quick errands around town.

Car Share is not good for driving to work and letting it sit for eight or ten hours, unless your work is near a check in point.

I’ll stay enrolled in the eGo Car Share deal. It’s a good complement to my RTD ECOPass bus pass, my Eurovan and Enterprise car rentals.

For more info,