Re: the early years
From: Blaise J. Tobia (
Date: Sun, 29 Oct 1995 19:04:52 -0600
I hadn't meant to complain in such a detailed manner about Philadelphia as
my co-citizen Judith Wisdom has decided to do, but I must concur with many
of her observations about the social/conservatism of our fair city (having
lived, for comparison's sake, in Brooklyn and Manhattan in NYC, as well as
San Diego, Detroit, Cleveland and Chicago). Paradoxically, however, the
Quakers here have often been quite progressive on social issues, and did
organize, or help inspire, many experiments in cooperative and/or communal
living in Philadelphia. 
In partial response to Lee at CUNY, I only meant to say that the people 
in upstate NY were finding some difficulty in recruiting, even for a very 
small project. The inertia against cohousing can certainly be due to 
economic factors as well as social ones, and there are economic and 
political factors in Philadelphia that contribute to the inertia here in 
addition to whatever "conservative" social issues there may be. For one 
thing, housing is quite cheap and available here (at least within the 
city proper) and people can find an excellent alternative (ie private 
house) at their first experience of frustration with the cohousing process!
The dilemma we face in trying to proceed with promoting cohousing in 
Philadelphia has something of a chicken-or-egg quality about it. We had 
though about asking Chuck and Katie to Philadelphia in connection with 
their recent East-Coast trip, but then we imagined the publicity going 
out about the writers of "CoHousing" and the founders of the movement in 
the U.S., and most Philadelphia-area people not having a clue as to what 
that might mean. In other words, the very basic concept of "cohousing" 
somehow needs alot of publicity here before we can start to tap 
potentially interested people.
Again, suggestions and observations are most welcome. Our umbrella group 
has its quarterly meeting next Sunday (Nov. 5th) and I'm planning to 
report the discussion that takes place here.

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