A (More) Livable Community: Community, Cooperative Economics, and Resistance At A Student Housing Cooperative In College Park
Medvedev, Anton Andrei
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Radical thinkers and activists have put forth “building community” as a political alternative, but what does “building community” actually entail? This thesis examines how a student cohousing group in College Park builds community in a rapidly changing college town. The group was founded to help house low-income tenants in the face of increasingly unaffordable housing. I ask how the group creates organizational structures and personal relationships that give rise to alternative housing opportunities. I examine how community shapes, and is shaped by, features of cohousing such as democratic decision-making and cooperative economics. I give particular attention to tensions that occur within the cooperative due to faults in democratic decision-making, the ability to perform cooperative duties, and the demographic makeup of the cooperative. Finally, I ask what transformative features, if any, the community possesses in the face of the city’s development.