RE: re:the politics of co-housing
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 94 11:44 CST
Pablo Halpern  Wrote:

>There are companies cropping up for the purpose of developing cohousing.
>I think many of these companies are on the right track.  The key, as I
>see it, is that any group working with these companies must truly form a
>community in the process.

As more groups move through the process, some of members of those 
groups have spun off what they learned and formed consulting companies, 
which you can hire to get their expertise.  I would categorize these 
sorts of companies as experiential based.  Some others have seen the 
"trend" and read the cohousing book and then try to apply their 
previous development experience to the cohousing model. I would 
categorize these sorts as inferential based.

I would suspect, although I really don't know for sure, that an 
experiential based consultant would have more value in community 
building, than an inferential based one.  Our experience at Sharingwood 
certainly bears out that thesis.  We interviewed about a dozen 
architects for our commonhouse and got a huge number of inquires 
because cohousing is "hot right now" in the architectural world.  This 
is not bad, but the buyer needs to sort through what real community 
experience a potential consultant has.  In our interview process we 
found a large number of architects who were really very experienced in 
designing commercial and residential kitchens for efficiency, but 
clearly didn't understand the sociability factor of community.  In our 
scale of priority having a kitchen which works well as a social place 
is as important as a kitchen which is efficient.

As time goes on and more cohousing projects are built out and lived in 
long enough I really would like to see some energy going into 
collecting what we learn in some form so that those that follow us can 
learn from our experiences and mistakes.  The Cohousing Resource Guide 
is one format for this, perhaps this mailing list or some other on-line 
media data source could also serve in this regard.

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