Re: co-housing v.s. old-fashioned neighborliness (fwd)
From: Fred H. Olson (
Date: Sat, 16 May 1998 22:22:59 -0500
Gail Curry curryg [at]
is the author of the message below but due to a problem it was posted
by the Fred the list manager: owner-cohousing-L [at]
--------------------  FORWARDED MESSAGE FOLLOWS --------------------

I think the key is the design of the community.  Cohousing is designed to
encourage community interaction (common house and common outdoor areas,
houses close together, kitchens at front, street furniture, pedestrian
streets, etc.); most single-family developments are not.  (In fact, they
tend to be designed to discourage community interaction.)  Also, the need
for a sense of community is the main reason people get involved in
cohousing; this not the main reason people buy a single-family dwelling in
a typical subdivision.  So in cohousing, you have the essential ingredients
for community: design to encourage interaction and people who want that

This is not to say that one cannot improve the sense of community in a
regular subdivision, but it would take a lot more conscious effort, and you
would be fighting against an anti-interactive environment and people who
just may not be interested in what you are trying to do.

Gail Curry
Prince George, British Columbia
> From: Deb Smyre <dsmyre [at]>
> Subject: co-housing v.s. old-fashioned neighborliness
> Date: Wednesday, May 13, 1998 9:36 AM
> I've been exchanging ideas with fellow grad students about my co-housing
> project, and some questions have come up that I can't adequately answer
> (i.e. I haven't been able to articulate a response, though I think I can
> intuit the answers).  
> One question is can't the benefits of co-housing be duplicated within any
> single-family community via block-clubs, backyard barbeques, shared
> child-care, co-op food buying, etc.   The questions seem to revolve
> whether the old-fashioned approaches to achieving a sense of community
> aren't just as effective as co-housing, without the hassle; or whether
> co-housing isn't in some ways like the 'gated communities' developed in
> wealthier suburbs to keep like-minded people in and others out.
> My intuition tells me the old-fashioned approach isn't adequate in most
> urban neighborhoods because everyone's on the go with no time for
> structured neighborhood 'togetherness' anymore.  Beyond that, I'm seeking
> help here in forming a more definitive response to such questions.  
> =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
> Deb Smyre
> E-Mail:   dsmyre [at]
> Website:
> =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

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