Re: co-housing v.s. old-fashioned neighborliness
From: Fred H. Olson (
Date: Mon, 18 May 1998 17:04:17 -0500
Jerry Callen  jcallen [at]   jcallen [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 --------------------

[Uncertain as to attributions...]

>> 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.
>Well, a lot more effort in some areas, but a lot less in others...  like,
>say, building the cohousing community in the first place.  How are you
>evaluating effort?  (When I think of all the time spent in planning
>meetings, etc. etc....  hell, half that much time put towards fostering
>community where you are...  though the results, admittedly, are less

This resonates strongly with me. Our family co-founded, then eventually (after
3 years...) dropped out of a cohousing group. Since then, we've moved into a
fairly ordinary, moderate-density (tightly-packed single and two family
houses) neighborhood, and we've been putting our energy into getting to know
our neighbors. It doesn't come even vaguely within reach of being cohousing,
but there has been a tangible increase in neighbor-to-neighbor interaction
(not just with us, either) since we got here. It's not the paradise we wanted
to build, but it's not bad at all, and we're not putting in anything close to
the effort we did toward cohousing.

Bottom line: if you want community, do *something* about it yoursef, whether
it's cohousing, meeting your neighbors, or whatever.

-- Jerry Callen, formerly of Rose Tree Cohousing in eastern Massachusetts
   jcallen [at]

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