Re: Small Cohousing Groups
From: Ann Barbarow (
Date: Wed, 14 May 1997 10:52:49 -0500
This is one of my favorite hot issues right now. I firmly believe that the
current Co Housing size goal of 20 to 40 units is too darn big (or too darn
small). Working with that size of a group (40 - 60 adults) is very difficult
to keep in touch with each other to the point of developing the trusting
relationships that my ideal of a co housing community would require. It is
much more easy for individuals to feel "outside the loop", duck
responsibility, get lost in the shuffle, and feel generally disaffected. The
group is too big to be run informally and too small to be run like a tight
ship. Small subgroups develope with their own agendas and needs, and if you
don't fit into one of the small subgroups you really have no support.

As usual, I am making a point by overstating reality. But these are issues
that I feel exist in Muir Commons to a greater or lesser extent, and I
imagine that other co housing communities of a similar size have similar
issues. I know that I feel inhibited about talking about "problems" in my
community here, but they do exist and I would like to see us talking about
more than just the sweetness and light that also exists.

My dream co housing communtiy would be 8-10 households; a mix of studio
apartments to maybe 4 bedroom houses. I assume that the size of communities
came from the "Danish Model", but I believe that the Danish culture is
different from the American culture and maybe doesn't translate to our

So hey - go for it. Let's have more small co housing communities out there.
Less than 15 units sounds great, and Olympia Washington sounds like a great
place to live.

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