Re: Limits on # of households?
From: Conkling, Rowena (
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 1996 07:03:43 -0500

In a message dated 96-07-22 15:43:44 EDT, Rowena writes:

>in Cambridge MA, the suggestion has been made that we increase
>the number of units on our site from 36 to 41,

Mela replied:

We don't have to like everybody equally. But it is harder to accept each
persons idiosynchracies when there are too many people.

 Because we are putting parking underground and will have a small  elevator 
building over the common house,  which will keep prices down for families 
and create handicapped-accessible units, we are able to get a large common 
house with guest rooms, office, workshop, play room, storage units, 
laundries, lounge with fireplace, etc. etc. in addition to kitchen, dining 
and outside dining patio.  We will also have flower and vegetable gardens, 
large grassy area , tot-lot and quiet, sheltered "sylvan glade."  Since we 
are also adjacent to parks and  public tennis courts,   and near a reservoir 
to run around, etc., there is plenty of space both to be together and to 
"get-away."  The current zoning of the property is for 53 units - this is a 
DENSELY populated  city - but we do NOT want to go over 41 max. 
 [Incidentally, of course, this kind of dense development is very 
environmentally sound.  We are close to public transportation and many of 
our members walk or bike to work as well as to restaurents, movies and 
stores.  It will also enable us to have a single heat pump for heating and 
cooling.   Because the units are joined as either town houses, three-story 
walk ups or in the elevator building and will be built in an environmentally 
sound manner as to materials, insulation, siting, etc.  we expect 
maintenance costs to be as much as 60% below the typical homes in this 

Our real concern is the social aspects.  I would have thought that it was 
easier to accept a less compatible person in a larger group?

Our concern is that a large group may tend to break down into smaller 
"compatible" groups, rather than remaining cohesive.   On the other hand, 
based on our current and anticipated  membership  we are likely to have no 
more than  about 60 adults in 40  units.  This is because about a third of 
our households are  "singles" and/or "single-parent families," and  given 
the demographics of the City of Cambridge, this is likely to remain 
constant.  We suspect that the number of adults is more significant than the 
number of households.  Based on Rob's comments, 60 may be right on.  With 
this number, for instance,  we should be able to have shared meals several 
times a week without anyone having to work too often.  Similarly, working in 
the gardens and so on will be a lot easier if we have enough adults.

Any more thoughts?

Rowena C
Cambridge Cohousing in MA    -  It's Happening Now
(We're working on a more resonant name!)

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