Re: Limits to CoHousing -Reply
From: Steve Fogarty (SFOGARTYWordPerfect.com)
Date: Mon, 25 Apr 94 18:10 CDT
Mr Boosman states: "If groups of people wish to form cohousing
communities which go beyond these precepts--for example, to adopt a
strong environmental preservation policy, or to adopt a no-smoking
policy, or promote recycling, this is NO different--it is merely an
extension of the basic association concept of cohousing."

I must disagree. One of the most appealing aspects of CoHousing is
that it need not submit its members to an ideological litmus test.
Communities that do are called Communes, or Ashrams, or <fill in the
blank>. The authors of the book that brought this living concept to
us all (CoHousing) state very clearly that the least successful
European CoHousing communities were those that bore an ideological
flag - "we are Green" or "we are Orange". Mr Boosman is perhaps
confusing his personal / political comfort zone with the very simple
and basic concepts of CoHousing. But these are very different things.

The CoHousing community I want to live in will - hopefully - be home
to liberals and Anarchists and John Birchers and gun owners and
pacifists and personally strident vegetarians and nudists and
Mormons, etc. Amid this vivid ideological tapestry will run the
common, simple thread of CoHousing: architecturally promoted
community, shared meals, the small town. Indeed, this ideal may be
the *only* shared precept. As soon as other required thoughts are
established such a place would cease to be a CoHousing community and
would instead begin to resemble something else. An example that comes
to mind is the supremely well-intended, but unstable and unhappy,
commune I visited once in central virginia. They required much
ideological conformity of their members (give up your career, give up
your income, live on $45.00 per month, work in a furniture factory,
sign your possesions over to the Community...), and consequently were
as mobile and unsettled as the average American suburb. People left
every 3.5 years.

These ideological requirements have a place and, for some, are good.
But that place is not in a CoHousing community.

Steven Fogarty
SLC, Utah

>>> Frank Boosman <frank [at] news.internet.net>  4/22/94, 08:06pm >>>
[I would attribute the following if I could, but I didn't see a
return address.]

>I don't want to have to choose among gun/no-gun, smoking/no-smoking,
>Green/non-Green, nuclear-free/pro-nuke, recycling/bicycling,
>Left/Middle/Right/Green/Red/Brown/Black/Statist/Libertarian groups.
>I want to live in a cohousing group!

To be blunt, this is absurd. By choosing to live in a cohousing
community, one is, in effect, saying, "I wish to live in close
proximity to people who believe certain things: namely, that people
should live more closely than is typically practiced today; that
people should group together to form quasi-extended families; that
meals are meant to be shared on a regular basis;" and so on.

So, therefore, by choosing to live in a cohousing community, one is
already choosing to live with people who believe in certain precepts,
and who wish to live their lives based on these precepts.

If groups of people wish to form cohousing communities which go
beyond these precepts--for example, to adopt a strong environmental
preservation policy, or to adopt a no-smoking policy, or promote
recycling, this is NO different--it is merely an extension of the
basic association concept of cohousing.

Now, you might choose not to live in a cohousing development which
bans firearms. I would. I, on the other hand, wouldn't want to live
in a development which promoted or was focused around a religion,
whereas someone else might. This is just fine. This is the way
cohousing is meant to work. If you don't like a given group, keep
looking, or start one of your own. But why worry about what other
groups do?

-- Frank

PS -- Perhaps you should start a cohousing group which specifically
takes no position on gun ownership, smoking, nuclear issues,
recycling, or any other such issues. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised
if you found others who were looking for the same kind of group. If
you do, I wish you all the success. (I wouldn't be among them.)

| Frank Boosman      | This week's book pick is a trilogy: "Big
Secrets," |
| Morrisville, NC    | "Bigger Secrets," and, naturally, "Biggest    
    |
| frank [at] internet.net | "Secrets," all by William Poundstone. Lots of
fun. |




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