From: ruddick (
Date: Mon, 15 Sep 1997 14:02:06 -0500
        Re: Michael Mariner's comments about definition of cohousing.

        Definitions, to be clear, must not only say what characteristics
something has, but what characteristics it never has.

        If we define cohousing with a series of characteristics, and then
decide that it's evolving and other unrelated characteristics might be
involved--then pretty soon every kind of living arrangement (outside of
hermits, I guess) might be called cohousing.

        Might we not make the same comments about communes, kibbutzim,
intentional communities, retro communities, engineered cities, co-ops,
condos, apartment houses, housing projects, single-family homes,
retirement communities, factory villages, monasteries, tent cities,
etc.?  I.E., over time they all may evolve to take on new characteristics,
and so the definition will change to match those?

        I'd prefer to keep the definition clear.  If someone wants to
arrange a cohousing community *plus* other coordinated activities
then we can recognize that as an adjunct, and if we want to refine
the definition thru polite argument then I'm all in favor.  But definitions
evolve with the changing times, and we aren't served by keeping them
intentionally vague at present against the possibility of an
unknown future.


ps: anyone interested in starting a project in Dayton OH?
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