Evanston Development Cooperative
One of the pleasures of CDS’s work is partnering in the innovative work of our clients. For two years, the Cooperative Development Fund of CDS is a fiscal sponsor for a new and exciting co-op effort that is simultaneously addressing three cross-cutting issues of our time. In February, Vicky Chaput and Kevin Edberg visited with Peter Alexander and Robinson Markus of the Evanston Development Co-op (EDC), in Evanston, IL.
EDC emerged from a collaboration of a climate scientist concerned about carbon emissions in the building environment and an undergraduate addressing displacement of Black families in the mortgage crisis of the Great Recession. To address issues of affordable housing, the co-op is seeking to site Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs, aka coach homes) in low-density Evanston neighborhoods. ADUs can be lower cost because land costs are largely taken out of the equation. To address issues of climate change, EDC builds all-electric structures that do not connect directly to fossil fuels, and they frame their houses with a highly insulated structural insulated panel (SIP), Eco-Panels. This focus also creates longer term affordability by reducing energy costs. To address issues of equity and wealth-building, the co-op is worker-owned, with trades members/contractors being eligible for membership. The co-op has successfully worked with city leadership to re-write local ordinances to facilitate this work.
Co-founder Robinson Markus was a student at Northwestern where he was introduced to these issues and became active in formation of the co-op after graduation. Peter Alexander brings long-time experience in construction management and deep relationships with local trades professionals in the community. We were excited to visit actual completed and soon-to-be completed ADUs and witness how a focus on local action, policy change, and cooperative practice can result in new ways of addressing the issues of our time. Learn more about them at www.Evanston.coop.
Peter Alexander (left), worker-owner and construction manager for the co-op informs the details of this particular build with Robinson Markus (center), worker-owner and general manager, and Kevin Edberg, Executive Director, CDS.
CDS is planning an informal late afternoon gathering in the Twin Cities area on Thursday, May 25th where Robinson Markus will talk more about the Evanston Development Co-op and its work.
More details to come, which will be posted on our website and in future communications. If you are interested in potentially attending, send us an email to Char Vrieze at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can plan accordingly.