Date of Award
Master of Community Planning and Development (CPD)
Community Planning and Development
Yuseung Kim PhD
Cooperative housing may be a viable and financially-sound alternative for individuals and families of low to moderate income, as Portland, Maine’s downtown area becomes gentrified raising property values to unaffordable heights. Of the 13,546 family households in Portland, 8.7% earn below $25,000, which for an average family of four $24, 2501 is considered to be in poverty, and 18.4% earn between $25,000 and $50,000. Meanwhile, 13.2% of the 16, 561 non-family households are below the poverty line, and 27.5% earn between $25,000 and $50,000 (US Census Bureau, 2014).
As it becomes increasingly difficult for low to moderate income earners to find affordable housing, cooperative housing offers the alternative. A cooperative is an organization with a set of political ideological beliefs that is a response to the external economic and social circumstances. In this case, the high cost of housing in an urban environment is the issue that has spurred Portland residents to organize and search for an alternative.
In Portland, Maine, cooperative houses are not widely available as alternative cheaper housing; the closest to a cooperative housing is an intentional community2 called Dreamship Community whose goal is to become a fully self-sustainable cooperative.
Gacosta, Cyndi, "A Framework for Cooperative Housing in Portland, ME: Lessons from 13 Existing Cooperative Houses in the U.S." (2019). Muskie School Capstones and Dissertations. 157.