Re: early years/alternative model
From: 'Judith Wisdom (
Date: Fri, 27 Oct 1995 05:21:09 -0500
As many of you know I'm new to the cohousing concept and neither have 
experience (direct) with it nor have done vast reading.  But, heh.

I've engaged in a mini-private discussion not of early years or even 
small in numbers issue but about the suspicion that some places have 
subcultures/geists/ethos that are not as open to concepts like 
cohousing.  Frankly I firmly believe this, and that cohousing is only one 
of a cluster of cultural formations certain places are very conservative 

Since I think Philly is one of those places (I was born and raised here 
and fortunately have lived elsewhere) I was thinking that maybe, just 
maybe, if I'm right, that cohousing has to make some adaptations.

Here's where I'm scared some on the list will get upset and rail that 
what I'm saying isn't cohousing.  Okay, let's say it's cohousing 
inspired, or the closest some places can come to cohousing.

My thought is that in such places maybe the thing to do is to find a 
neighborhood that's appealing in terms of look and other residents and 
all the other things that would draw you to live there (and establish if 
it were possible) a real traditional coho community, even if it were not 
built from scratch.  Then, instead of finding contiguous properties and a 
common house, say in a circle or such, form a tight coho group and each 
family unit purchase separate properties on several (if in the city and 
that's what I'm thinking) streets nearby each other (or, if possible, one 
street).  If there is enough $s buy one for a common house. 

And stick together re dinners, meetings, group purchases, and all the rest.

I offer this because it could (I think--no vast or really any experience 
except life in regular neighborhoods) even draw in other like-minded folks.

I have in mind several very "neighborhoody" areas in Phila.  Places where 
the sort of people who tend to be drawn (now) to coho already live.

Don't tar and feather me please.

Oh, one other virtue.  People might be more willing to join because in 
such an arrangement it might be that each unit might be easier to resell 
should someone want to.  And I suspect that's something that keeps some 
families/individuals out.  Not because of nonaffinity to coho, but 
because of the realities of modern life.

This overlaps, I think, with Russell M's notions of turning neighborhood 
into places that have the virtue of coho.  But this goes a step further.  
Coho is embedded in the neighborhood, with distinct relationship 
connections, but also with possibilities for interaction and absorption.

I hope this doesn't cause an earthquake in Denmark.  And I full well know 
this is not a traditional approach and know,too, some wouldn't call this 

But it's coho-like.  It ain't just buying a house and living in the 
isolation many of us now live.  By a long shot.

Judith Wisdom   wisdom [at]

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