RE: "What is (or isn't) cohousing" revisited.
From: Bruce Koller (
Date: Mon, 29 Jul 1996 20:03:55 -0500
On Mon, 29 Apr 1996, Rob Sandelin (Exchange) wrote:

> I continue to want to fall back to defining cohousing with some notion
> of the residents having the expectation of a close community that works
> cooperatively.  This would clearly separate out physical design issues
> as a defining point (lots of condos could be called cohousing by their
> pedestrian designs).  

First, sorry for being so tardy with my response.  (Moving into Muir 
Commons knocked me off the net for a while but I really wanted to respond 
to this issue.)

I must take issue with your definition.  I think physical design issues 
are rightly part of what cohousing entails.  While your definition above 
does take in cohousing, it also applies to many other types of 
intentional community.  I think Chuck and Katie's working definition says 
it well:

1) Participatory process
2) Intentional neighborhood design
3) Extensive common facilities
4) Complete resident management

If you know of a lot of condos that meet all of the above criteria, I'd say 
cohousing is definitely mainstream already.

p.s. Don't take this as an attack (I really enjoy your perspective on 
things) but I have to ask: Have you read the cohousing book?  You 
seem to be equating cohousing with intentional 
community.  I would say that there is a continuum of intentional 
community from rather loose (little ideological/belief consensus) to 
tight (common religious/spiritual beliefs).  From what I've heard, most all 
the cohousing communities in 
Denmark are very low on the ideology scale (i.e. don't require lots of 
buy-in on political or spiritual beliefs in order to live in them).

I guess I find cohousing more a "kinder, gentler" type of condo rather 
than a 
beliefs-centered intentional community.  Its advantages for me are intensely 
rather than spiritual.  Maybe I'm just less in touch with my spiritual 
side... {:^)

Bruce Koller
Muir Commons (slogan: Just a darn good condo.)
bkoller [at]

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