Motivated by the concept that parenting is a team effort and that children benefit greatly from having multiple caring adults in their lives, we are creating an intentionally child-friendly housing coop in Boston.
Children and their caregivers stand to benefit immensely from the resource-sharing that cooperative living makes possible, including shared chores, meal preparation, and childcare, but we’re not aware of anything quite like the Canopy that exists in the Greater Boston area. Other coops may include children, but weren’t set up with that specific focus. Cohousing tends to be child-friendly, but its model of private ownership at market rates makes it unaffordable for many and shifts the focus of the household toward family units and private space more than we would like. While creating a new coop is a lot more work than joining an existing one, we’ve identified an unmet need that the Canopy will address.
In addition, there are broader problems in the Boston housing market that the Canopy can help to solve. First, in general the supply of coop housing in Boston has not kept up with demand. Secondly, even though it’s technically illegal, housing discrimination against people with young children is rampant in Boston and those who can’t afford to buy find themselves shut out of many apartments. Our long-term vision is that the Canopy will be one step in a movement to mobilize and organize in order to combat that injustice.
The Canopy’s current core group of members has diverse personal reasons for why this feels like the right choice for each of us. Above all, we believe that a different model for urban living with children can exist – one that is sustainable, practical, and fun. One that is centered on community and built on creating networks of mutual support for adults and kids.
The Canopy seeks to practice, promote, and create resources to support urban cooperative living for people who want to raise children in community. Our goal is for the Canopy to be the first of many homes in the greater Boston area where parents, children, and other adults can benefit from living together in community. We envision that these homes will confer benefits to the people who live there, the surrounding community, and the cooperative living movement–forever.
To learn more about the The Canopy’s work, visit their website: http://canopy.coop/