Pringle Creek Community (PCC) and co-housing communities share many common, desirable features such as pedestrian friendly streets and trails, higher density, centralized living, open space, and a community center where people can gather and celebrate. Although there are similarities between the two community types, the differences, which are subtle, are also significant.
The main differences exist in three areas – Pringle Creek Community’s planning process vs that of a co-housing development, the type of common, residential gathering space, and the degree of community involvement in decision making.
Co-housing communities are typically planned, created, and developed by the people who desire to live together in community. The process can be tedious, time consuming, and use a lot of everyone’s energy. In contrast, the property at PCC was purchased by private individuals with a vision for a cutting-edge, highly sustainable residential community. Similar to co-housing, Salem’s residents were consulted about their community vision. Those ideas and suggestions, derived from vignettes and study groups held in Salem, were crafted into PCC’s plan. With input from the larger community, the property is developed to the highest green standards going beyond innovations of smart growth’s ideas and principles creating a truly sustainable mixed use development. The result is Pringle Creek Community, a build-ready and professionally developed and managed community.
Co-housing communities and Pringle Creek Community both appreciate a common place for neighbors and the greater community to gather and interact – co-housing typically has a ‘common house’ for community meetings, meals, and events. PCC has a community center, Painters Hall. Painters Hall is a net zero LEED platinum building where residents are welcome to gather together or to use the hall for private gatherings and celebrations. It has a great hall, a side ‘living room’ style sitting area, and a fully equipped kitchen. Painters Hall is available as an event venue to the greater public, too. PCC also features 12 acres, 1/3 of the property, of shared green space filled with trails, parks, and quiet areas.
One of the biggest differences between PCC and co-housing is the level of commitment expected of residents in day-t0-day living. Co-housing communities expect residents to participate in consensus decision making, to share various maintenance chores, and to participate in regular communal meals. PCC offers residents the opportunity to work together, but PCC’s community center and the shared 12 acres of green space and gardens are tended by a small professional paid staff. PCC residents do meet monthly to discuss daily life, hear about issues that affect the community, and help with larger decisions, but they are not required to make communal decisions by consensus. Rather, they learn about current issues while often meeting in a potluck fashion, sharing food and drink while exchanging information. These meetings give our residents information transparently and provide opportunity for input and feedback. This helps to keep everyone connected and aware of all that is happening at PCC, without creating a civic burden on the residents.
Pringle Creek Community is similar to co-housing, but also very different. It is a cutting-edge, sustainable residential and multi-use development that offers community connection without an expectation of deep community involvement. That level of involvement at PCC is possible and appreciated, but not required. Our shared amenities, including our edible landscape, gardens, and beautiful parks are maintained for the residents, not by the residents. We offer an amazing quality of life in a park-like setting where residents appreciate and respect each other and sustainable living but aren’t expected to participate in day-to-day decision making. We’ve got that part covered – transparently.