Santa Cruz Good Times

Oct 06th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Walnut Commons Breaks Ground

blog walnutCohousing project begins construction in Downtown Santa Cruz

After the recent murders of two Santa Cruz police officers, the builders and future members of Walnut Commons thought about moving their groundbreaking ceremony to a later date, but instead decided to acknowledge the tragedy and stick with their plans.

“It’s so important that we do proceed, because one of the things that is going to get us through this very difficult time is community, and this project is all about community,” Santa Cruz City Councilman Don Lane said at the groundbreaking.

With the recent approval of a loan from Santa Cruz County Bank, construction for the Walnut Commons Cohousing project, a unique residential complex located at the corner of Walnut Avenue and Center Street in Downtown Santa Cruz, begins this week. Project engineers hope to have the building completed by early 2014.

Walnut Commons will contain three stories with 19 independent units, as well as a 3,000 square-foot common area with a kitchen, dining room, entertainment center, and recreational space for all residents to use. Most of the units have been filled, but six remain.

Walnut Commons is part of the growing cohousing movement, a form of intentional community that relies on consensual decision making, which began in Denmark in the late 1960s. The concept was imported to America by people like Charles Durrett, who also helped with the design of Walnut Commons, in conjunction with the building’s future residents and Bob Hightower of Barry Swenson Builders.

“The elevators and mailboxes are typically put in the front of a building,” says Hightower, “but in Walnut Commons we moved them to the core, so that people walk by the common areas and see what activities are going on.”

Walnut Commons planners and residents aim for it to be more than just a building. For people like Walnut Commons member and author Cecile Andrews, it is a community of individuals devoted to a smaller environmental impact and a stronger sense of community.

“We will be each other’s entertainment,” says Andrews, whose upcoming book, “Living Room Revolution: A Handbook for Conversation, Community, and the Common Good,” comes out later this month. ”The old-fashioned way of doing things is people getting together with their neighbors, talking, laughing, singing, and playing music. I envision this will be happening more at Walnut Commons.”

For more information visit

Comments (1)Add Comment
Ink-stained wretch
written by Paul Andrews, March 04, 2013
Thanks Aric, great job! The fact I'm married to one of the sources quoted in no way influences my opinion, but we all at Walnut Commons appreciate the great local coverage of Good Times. We expect many future group dinners where we'll discuss the latest reading in GT!

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Making a Scene

As it celebrates its 30th year, Santa Cruz County’s Open Studios is one of the most successful in the country—and a make-or-break event for many local artists


The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program


At Clothes Range

FashionART’s 10th anniversary show introduces a new generation of designers on the edge


A Ritual & Initiation

The Pope has come and gone, but his loving presence ignited new hope and goodness in many. While he was in NYC, China’s ruler arrived in Washington D.C. East (China) and West (Rome), meeting in the middle, under Libra, balancing sign of Right Relations. The Pope arrived at Fall Equinox. Things initiated at Fall Equinox are birthed at Winter Solstice. The Pope’s presence was a ritual, an initiation rite—like the Dalai Lama’s visits—offering prayers, teachings and blessings. Rituals anchor God’s plan into the world, initiating us to new realities, new rules. The Pope’s presence brings forth the Soul of the United States, its light piercing the veils of materialism. The Pope’s visit changed things. New questions arise, new reasons for living. A new wave of emerging life fills the air. Like a cocoon shifting, wings becoming visible. The winds are different now. Calling us to higher vision, moral values, virtues that reaffirm and offer hope for humanity. A changing of the guard has occurred. Appropriately, this is the week of the Jewish Festival of Sukkoth (’til Oct. 4), when we build temporary homes (little huts in nature), entering into a harvest of prayer and thanksgiving, understanding our fragile and impermanent existences. We are summoned to reflect upon our lives, our humanity, our nature, our spirit and each other. Offering gratitude, becoming a magnet for others. We observe. We see the needs. We love more.
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


What’s your biggest pet peeve?

When people say they’re “going down” somewhere, and they’re actually traveling north. Julia Ragen, Santa Cruz, Psychologist


Downhill Cellars

An easy-drinking Chardonnay from Downhill Cellars


If whales have a message for humans, what might it be?

“Do not come in the water and join us.” Howard Hall, Santa Cruz, Retired


Wargin Wines

The wine world is buzzing about this Pinot Gris