Household demographics/
From: Joani Blank (
Date: Fri, 26 Jul 1996 00:43:46 -0500
A member of a group asked me for the demographic info I'l collected by
individual community and not in aggregate. I thought my CoHo-L-ite friends
might have be interested in part of my answer to her. Your reactions
welcome, of course:

I have promised two of the 11 or so communities that sent me their info that
I would not identify individual communities, just make a list of those whose
data are included in the aggregate info and perhaps say "and two (or however
many) communities who wish to remain unnamed." 

A word about demographics (the following is my opinion alone based on living
at Doyle St. for 4 years and being an active member of the Old Oakland
group, now recruiting new members for what will be the most urban cohousing
community in No. America):

I'm not sure that you want to try to "control"  the demographics of your
project by deciding what are the "best" demographics. You probably aren't
able to do that to a significant extent in cohousing anyway, any more than
you could do it in a a standard condo complex or along a suburban street.
People who are attracted to cohousing and who want to live at your site will
come in whatever household composition they come in. If they can afford to
buy in, are in home-buying mode, and are willing to participate actively in
the work it takes to get the place built and buy in to your mission
statement, then you want them for your neighbors. As you move along getting
new members, you will from time to time look at your group and say say to
yourself--or maybe to one another-"My, we are an odd lot, aren't we?"  Never
mind, in a few weeks a couple more households will join or one will drop out
and then you'll be another kind of odd lot.

As for designing the place for the last third of your people who are not in
the group yet, It is rare for a cohousing group to have all the units
committed before the design is started, and people who come in later have to
understand that they won't get nearly as much say in the design as those who
were in earlier, maybe none at all. But if you design it to work for the 2/3
of you who are already in the group, there is a very good chance that the
newer third will like it just fine. S'matter of fact, some of them will be
most relieved and appreciative that you have done all that work for them. I
know it may seem that I have strayed far from your question about
demographics but I believe I am speaking quite directly to it. 

Joani Blank
Doyle Street and Old Oakland

REALIST'S IDEAL: To view the rose with world-colored glasses, to be in life
with love

Rowena, I'm posting part of my answer to the list because I think people
might be interested in it. 

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