This winter break, we invited ourselves over to the home of our dear friends, Javed “Hijabman” Memon and Aida Rahim. We’ve also been very interested in exploring their cooperative housing setup, called Shadowlake Village. So here are some pictures and descriptions of the place. I haven’t shared pictures of Javed and Aida’s home – which is beautiful and amazingly well-designed, but I am profoundly inspired by the concept of cooperative housing.
Consider some examples: When our kid wants to play outside, it’s a production. One of us grownups must accompany her to a playground, or bookstore, or library. In Shadowlake Village, Javed and Aida know all their neighbors. What do they do? They tell their kid, “Go outside and play.” They know all the other kids. They know the older neighbors whose windows look upon the playground, and who have at times hurried down to the playground to help a kid who’s hanging from the bars.
Javed and Aida need not own a lawn-mower. A lawnmower is a shared piece of equipment. They eat together at the club-house two nights a week. It’s not mandatory, but it’s amazing. Two nights a week, they don’t have to plan or shop for dinner. That is heaven.
Here’s the club house. It can be reserved for special parties (like Eid or Christmas dinners).
There is a large, very pretty dining area, adjoining a meeting area.
Next to the dining area is an impressive industrial kitchen, complete with industrial cooking area and industrial dishwasher.
Next to the dining area is a cozy library where you can check out books, and people who work from home can work or have meetings.
And of course there is a cute little playroom for the children.
What Javed gets really excited about is the volunteer sign-up sheet and the workshare. Everyone signs up for tasks and duties, and gets things done around the village.
In the basement, there is a game room with pool tables, table tennis, foosball, air hockey, and exercise equipment.
I had the good fortune of bumping into his neighbor, Donna, who was one of the first residents and founders of Shadowlake Village. We had a most informative chat. The basement includes a wall that records the history of Shadowlake Village.
Javed is czar of the agricultural area, and this is where he shines. He grows a variety of vegetables, and orders unusual seeds for the garden, such as red and burgundy okra.
There is quite a bit of open land. There may be goats here soon.
Javed’s yard features a pond (with frogs and fishes) and a bee-hive (he has trained to become a bee-keeper – those box-like stacks are the hives).
Philosophically and politically, the concept of cooperative housing is extremely attractive to me. I recommend you check out your local cooperative housing and consider it for yourself. Shadowlake Village may have some available homes at this time.