Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Community Planning and Development (CPD)


Community Planning and Development

First Advisor

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.


1 2014 Poverty Guidelines, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

2 According to the Fellowship for Intentional Community “intentional community” is defined as a group of people who have chosen to live together with a common purpose, working cooperatively to create a lifestyle that reflects their shared core values.



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