UrbanIC's listserve and Cohousing-l
From: Joani Blank (jeblankic.org)
Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 13:43:03 -0500
[CC to cohousing-l readers: For those who don't know, UrbanICs (standing
for urban intentional communities)  is a listserve subscribed to by about
45 folks. Now that Michael Mariner, its initiator, is gone, they/we are
considering the future of that list.]

I think we need to be really clear that urban COHOUSING is only one subtype
of contemporary urban community abuilding--or even desired--in these times. 

No one on this list will be surprised to hear that many folks into
cohousing do not consider what they/we are doing to be "intentional
community," because beyond the desire to be much closer to their neighbors
than they ever previously imagined, they usually do not share political,
religious, or even certain kinds of social ideology. In addition, many
specifically want to distance themselves from what they imagine to be--or
what truly is--the public image of intentional community.

The other way that cohousing differs from other intentional communities is
the large amount of privacy that is afforded to individual households in
cohousing. This is also what makes it costs so much. Duh!  In many cases,
retrofitting a building or buildings as cohousing does not cost a lot less
than new construction, and in some cases (Swan's Market in Oakland, for
example), it costs a lot more. And this is what makes it out of reach for
many who would love to live this way. So in deciding who the "market" for
these two lists might be,  and whether there is a need for both, I think we
need to try to "cut the pie" a couple of different ways and see what falls
out.

As soon as several households are sharing one kitchen (other than a
separate common kitchen shared for a few meals a week) the community ceases
to be cohousing. I think we have three groups of people out there in the
world. There are people who want to live in cohousing and can afford it,
there are people who prefer to live with less privacy and more intimacy and
more shared ideology,  and there is a third group who'd prefer cohousing
but can't afford it. 

Then there are subgroups in each of  these groups that want to live in
urban areas, and although I daresay that every individual has his or her
personal reasons for wanting to live in an urban setting, my guess is that
most of us share the desire to 1) be a part of revitalizing a declining
neighborhood, 2)  reduce our reliance on the automobile, 3) be close to
"everything."  

I guess that I would like to see urbanIC list continue, but as a person
whose focus is on urban cohousing in particular, I expect that I and others
like me will continue to use coho-l as our main discussion group, because
so far, anything from this list of import to the cohousing virtual
community has also showed up on coho-l. And on that list I'm not
particularly interested in reading about non-cohousing urban communities.
Well....I'm interested and supportive. It's just not a priority of mine. 

Joani Blank
Doyle Street Cohousing (pretty darned urban cohousing where I live now),
and Swan's Market Cohousing (in downtown Oakland ,where I will be living in
a year and which will be the most urban cohousing in N. America). 


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