|Listening to CoHousing Wisdom vs. Doing it yourself||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Joani Blank (jeblankhooked.net)|
|Date: Sun, 4 May 1997 03:20:40 -0500|
I guarantee that even if you take advantage of every bit of cohousing wisdom available to you from consultants and people in other cohousing groups, you'll still have plenty of issues to process and work and bond on. Believe me, it is much easier to find out as much as you can about the way others have done all aspects of cohousing especially focusing on what works and what doesn't, then make a decision that works for your particular situation. Folks, this IS research. It is not being a bunch of automotons. Always remember--as one coho wag said--you are not designing your dream home, you are designing your dream community. As far as listening to consultants goes, I'm all for it. For example, I saw the plans for one common house which included a sitting area as large as the dining room. I've visited 10 or so coho communities, all with sitting areas that work pretty or very well, and the sitting area is usually no more than one fourth the floor space of the dining area. Also nobody but coho experts (consultants or experienced residents) can tell you certain things like good placement of the kids' room in relation to the dining area, or what percentage of your members can be expected to be eating common meals routinely, or the advantages of having the laundry on the same level as the dining room instead of in the basement, the social risks of having attached garages, or how many gates or fences are needed or advisable between your property and the rest of the community, or what issues are almost always sticky for cohousing groups, (pet policy, house colors, name of the community, to name a few that are ususally difficult). > About architects. Very few architects have designed cohousing before, which means that they often have a really hard time with design that is as participatory as cohousers insist on. It may be quite hard for them to believe that you want to have fairly standardized and modest individual residences in order to put more of your resources into your common house and common outdoor space, or because most of the households are eager to simplify their lives and reduce the amount of "stuff" they own and maintain as they plan their move into cohousing. In a group with which I am very familiar, when the group first tackled unit plans, the architect listened respectfully and dutifully drew in (optional) second bathrooms which at least 5 households requested. Within a month or so, every household who thought they would have to have a second bath had changed their mind and decided that one bathroom would be adequate. Joani Blank
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