Re: I'm Frustrated
From: Michael Mariner (
Date: Wed, 8 Jul 1998 22:40:26 -0500
Matt Lawrence said:

>  <snip>The building materials
>will have to be cheap, the insulation will have to be reduced, the
>appliances will need to be less efficient and the common house will have
>to be scaled way back (assuming everybody pays an equal proportion).
>Forget about a nice swimming pool, a good workshop, a stable for horses
>(somebody wants a horse) and a number of other amenities.

What the above tells me is your group has not taken enough care to 
determine the priorities of the group's values.

You mention (or infer): 

1) environmental values (including long-term energy savings) will have to 
be compromised by construction cost cutting;

2) luxury values requiring a "wonderful" common house and to allow 
anybody to add their favorite amenity into the shared cost - somebody's 
stable, your olympic-sized pool;

3) values of having income deversity at least in the case of the one 
family with $80K (Is this driven by a need to accept any member who shows 
up or a deeper conviction that "building a better neighborhood" 
inherently means including those with less means?)

I see a contradiction between #1 and #2 - You strongly want to save 
energy in the homes and then waste energy with a huge common house, 
swimming pool, etc.

Re #2, your group would have to be incredibly rich to include an 
expensive amenity if only one person wants it like the stable, for 
instance. In cohousing you usually need several people to want something 
for it to be included in the final plan.

Then between #2 and #3 - which is your higher value? -  to have luxuries 
or to allow more diversity? Other folks suggested ways to have it both 
ways, but it seems to me if only one $80K house is cramping everybody 
else's style you have to point them to the modular homes or the condo 
complex down the street.

Obviously with such contrasting values compromises have to be worked out. 

>With that kind of target for a 4 bedroom house, I (as a single person)
>would be looking at a cost of less than $70K for a smaller house for
>myself.  Why?  My current house is appraised at over $130K and I could
>easily afford over $200K.  I WANT to spend the extra money that a very
>energy efficient house will cost.  I WANT to spend the money that a
>WONDERFUL common house will cost.  I insist on spending the money for a
>really good workshop.  I really like the idea of an Olympic size swimming
>pool.  I don't think it's going to happen with this group.  Sigh.

Matt, I agree that one of the benefits of cohousing is to be able to 
afford more amenities than we could each afford on our own. But it 
appears to me from the above paragraph that you would be happier living 
in a plush condo project or a gated luxury community where you wouldn't 
have to make the compromises that go into creating and maintaining a 

I suggest you reread your paragraph above - look how many sentences begin 
with "my" and "I WANT" and "I insist." Frankly, it seems to me you 
haven't learned that the essence of living in community is beginning more 
sentences with "we" and fewer sentences with "I."

>I really want to live in cohousing, but, so far, I'm striking out.

The reason you're striking out is you haven't learned how to be a team 
player. Listen to the batting coach. Watch for signs from the 3rd base 
coach. Talk to other batters.

Michael Mariner

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