Re: Unpopularity of co-ops in USA
From: Geri Weitzman (
Date: Thu, 26 May 94 13:14 CDT
Hi Empathy,     

One of the reasons that co-ops are not so well received in the USA today 
is because of a backlash response to the hippie movement that cohousing 
is widely associated with. A lot of the zoning laws that prevent co-op 
formation were formulated in the 60's and 70's in direct response to 
hippie free-love co-habitation outside of marriage, and that is somethng 
that mainstream America doesn't exactly fancy. A threat to Traditional 
Family Values, that sort of thing...

This problem has been encountered by student co-ops (we had a hard time 
finding a house that was zoned properly for us to move into, and failed 
to obtain a zoning variance for one house we had our eyes on) as well as 
co-ops by and for the elderly, which are becoming a way that older folks 
find community and togetherness in widowhood (I did a paper on 
alternatives to nursing homes and found neat stuff on elder co-ops! This 
is not to imply that nursing homes and co-ops serve the same functions - 
by a long shot! - but often elderly people who need only minimal 
assistance to care for themselves cannot afford to have help come in at 
home, so they get railroaded into nursing homes because that is what 
the govt will pay for. There is a lot of political resistance to less 
warehoused forms of care for older people. BTW - disclaimer on top of 
disclaimer - I believe that nursing homes are good places for some people 
who really need heavy levels of care. But when I worked in one there were 
a lot of people who could have functioned in a co-housing environment 
where they had more input into how things were run.)
Whew... long winded of me.      
pyro [at]

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