Re: Why not?
From: Nancy Wight (wighthpwarr.wal.hp.com)
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 93 16:25 CST
> >
> > The "hard-nosed practical approach" is to recognize that there's no magic
> > about cohousing with respect to cost. I look at it this way: if a household
> > can't afford to buy a conventional house, then it can't afford cohousing.
> > Why SHOULDN'T this be true?
> 
>      My <naive> impression was that the attraction of co-housing is
>      economy. If the only attraction is community, why aren't people
>      doing the same kind of community planning in conventional 
>      housing? There is nothing stopping people from building a 
>      neighborhood in the same way that they build a cohousing 
>      community, and they would have none of the disadvantages. 
>      For that matter, what are the advantages of cohousing that are
>      unavailable in conventional housing? 
>  
>      My impressions of the economies in cohousing are:   
>  
>       1. No developer profit.
>       2. Common use items shared instead of duplicated.
>       3. Common areas shared amoung a larger number of people
>          reducing the per person cost.
>       4. Resources analyzed for community use more carefully. 
>       5. Any others?
> 
>      So, if there is no economy in this approach, again, why do it?

I can think of a few reasons:

1. Pedestrian community - how many developments do you know of
where kids can run outside and you don't have to worry about them
getting run over.

2. Common dining - this was THE major reason I decided to do this.
Count the number of hours you spend making dinner every night,
cleaning up, etc.  Multiply that times the number of households
in the community, and you start to see the economy in numbers.
Of course, there is added work to keep the common house clean, etc.
but it still seems worth it to me.

3. The design of a development greatly influences the amount of
"community".  Thus the cohousing model is meant to encourage socializing
and casual encounters with others, as opposed to the "drive-into-your-
garage-and-never-see-anyone-else-until-saturday" type developments.

4. A few communitites get economy as a side benefit (food co-ops,
buy things in quantities, etc) but it's not their primary goal.

- Nancy
New View, Acton, MA

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