About Brooklyn Street

Intentional Communities/Co-housing

Some people consider an intentional/co-housing neighborhood a return to the best of small-town America.

Futurists suggest that intentional communities and co-housing options are a response to the 21st century's social, economic, and environmental challenges.

We say it's an ideal balance of privacy and community — a safe, sustainable, and rewarding way to live! Imagine a neighborhood where...

  • Neighbors know each other well, and can socialize, if they choose, over home-cooked dinners or shared activities in a comfortable common house.
  • People with disabilities and their families and friends are life-long members of a diverse community.
  • Neighbors live much more sustainably after renovating or building wisely, and sharing common resources.

Our New "Old Fashioned" Neighborhood

We value acceptance, inclusion, and self-determination. We believe everyone deserves to be a life-long contributing member of a diverse community, and to have the opportunity to develop life-long, meaningful relationships. We know that all members of our community have something to learn from one another, and that everyone should have "a voice at the table". We enjoy life sharing!

Our community is developing into an old-fashioned neighborhood, created with strong values, and a little ingenuity. It brings together the value of private homes with the benefits of safety, community support, and more sustainable living.  This means:

  • Green buildings, common resources, and strong connections with neighbors.
  • Affordable housing options that are flexible, and able to change to meet individual needs to the extent that is reasonably possible.
  • Opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds, with and without disabilities, to live, work, and socialize together.
  • Nurturing one another's interests and abilities, and supporting individual interests and choices.

History of Co-housing

Co-housing first emerged in Denmark more than thirty years ago, and the first co-housing in the United States was completed in 1991. In 2010, there were over 100 well-established co-housing neighborhoods in the United States, and approximately 100 more in development. Most of these are neighborhoods with a specific intention, and most are intergenerational.

The Brooklyn Street Neighborhood Alliance is unique in that it combines the vision and mission of a cohousing community — and also welcomes and supports people with special needs and their families and friends. It is also unusual in that it is a retrofit of an old and established neighborhood, rather than a new development - and it is reflective of our commitment to the revitalization of North Adams. We want to be part of a thriving, sustainable community — we know it can happen, one neighborhood at a time!

Mel, Emperors, and Clothing

Mary Lou Accetta's picture

Reading Heather’s blog about “The Emperor’s New Clothes” resulted in a trip down memory lane for me. It is with laughter (and yes, fellow parents/guardians, sometimes it takes a few days, or even weeks, before I can laugh!) that I share a few “incidents” with you, with explicit permission from my son Mel to do so. Here are three stories: "The Bank Incident", "The Skirt Incident", and "The Supermarket Incident".

Pointing Out That the Emperor Has No Clothes

Heather Williams's picture
Most of us pick up a few social conventions very early. For example, if conditions are awkward or potentially embarrassing, we ignore those circumstances or tell white lies that deny their existence. Children on the spectrum, however, are much more likely to announce - plainly, accurately, loudly, and clearly - exactly what they observe, and point out what is most unusual about the situation.


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