Re: sustainability
From: Pablo Halpern (
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 93 10:45 CDT
>There seem to me to be two distinct styles of cohousing, urban and rural.  The
>rural style seems a lot more to me like the commune concept than the urban
>groups, who seem more interested in building a small-town type of community
>while remaining close to their place of employment and other urban
>attractions.  The former, I think, are the ones really interested in
>sustainable development.

I don't think it's a good idea to automatically link idealogy to the
urban v. rural v. suburban separation.  Some of the emerging groups in
the Boston area are more idealogical than our suburban group.  For
exampel, urban groups often have core ideals involving racial
diversity, income diversity, or service to the surrounding community.
Because of the close-quarters of the city, urban cohousing groups can
potentially be more commune-like than rural ones.  On the
sustainability issue, many consider the ability to get to work via
mass transit or walking to be a major issue in having a sustainable
society.  Also, as Jim has pointed out, urban groups can usually build
cohousing without sacrificing open land, woodlands, or farms.

Conversely, there is no reason why a rural cohousing group need by any
more interested in sustainable developement than any other group
wanting tyo live in community.  The social and architectural
principles of cohousing do not require solar energy or composting
toilets.  By living in detached houses, suburban cohousing groups can
potentially require LESS work of their members than iff everyting,
down to the wall, were shared with other community members.

So, on balance, I think a group's idealogy, or lack thereof, is
independent of whether that group prefers to be urban, rural, or
in-between.  If there is a pattern among EXISTING groups, however,
that is a different story.  Does anybody have evidence that rural
groups, as a rule ARE more interested in sustainable developement?  My
anectotal evidence suggests otherwise.

- Pablo

Pablo Halpern             (508) 435-5274          phalpern [at]

I am self-employed, so my opinions *do* reflect those of my employer.
However, they may not reflect the opinions of my client.

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