CoHousing Definition
From: The CoHousing Company (
Date: Mon, 15 Sep 1997 14:42:14 -0500
Brief response to comments from Michael Mariner (9/14):

Regarding community as primary income source as part of definition:
I don't think the defintion of cohousing in anyway limits what people
actually do and fully support people seeking out/creating community in
whatever way they can/want.

Nevertheless, I feel that when one of the community's primary goals is to
provide for residents PRIMARY source of income it significantly changes the
nature of the relationships between members and often/usually the financial
side of the community, by neccessity, becomes the primary focus of the
community. This is very different than if Nyland decides to lease or farm
some of it's land (which certainly could not support the 42 families in the
style to which they are currently accustomed).

Again, my intention is not in anyway to discourage people from creating
whatever type of community suits them. . .but to define cohousing in such a
way that it retains some specific meaning. Ultimately the definition is
defined by how the word is used by cohousers, but especially in the most
public formats such as the Journal and the web pages and this discussion
group. Over the years, we have heard from many, many people who were
organizing cohousing groups that they were very glad we had limited the
scope of what is called cohousing because it made it so much easier to be
clear about what they wanted to do and to find others of like mind.

Cohousing will continue to evolve, as will all types of other community
housing and communities. If other models need clearer definitions, I
suggest someone else take that up. Maybe that could be part of your book.
Perhaps one of the reasons cohousing has had such success is because it has
a "relatively" clear definition that people can grab on to.


The CoHousing Company
"Architectural Design and Consulting Services towards the formation of
CoHousing Communities"
email: coho [at]
web site:
tel. 510-549-9980, fax 510-549-2140
1250 Addison St. #113
Berkeley, CA 94702

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