Re: UrbanIC's listserve and Cohousing-l
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Thu, 8 Oct 1998 09:01:03 -0500
I want to debunk some stereotypes here.

>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.

First off, Cohousing IS a form of intentional community, whether you like it
or not. Intentional community is people living together for a reason.
Cohousers live together on purpose with a reason. Thus Cohousing is a type
of intentional community.

Second, there are many, many non-cohousing intentional communities that do
not share political, religious or social ideology. Sharing such does not
define them as intentional communities. There are explicit social ideologies
in many intentional communities that call themselves cohousing.

 In addition, many
>specifically want to distance themselves from what they imagine to be--or
>what truly is--the public image of intentional community.

Right, this is middle class image of hippy cult stereotyping. Cohousing
wants to be clean, shining, attractive to middle and upper middle class
professionals, bank loan officers and the like. This is just as degrading an
image as the hippy cult sterotype, just depends on your perspective. I see
this on the other side of the fence as well, other kinds of communities are
very clear , we aint COHOUSING, that's them yuppies in the city who are
community wantabes but don't really know anything about it. This kind of
stereotyping of each other is not very useful since most forms of
Intentional communty have a great deal in common and lots to learn from each
>The other way that cohousing differs from other intentional communities is
>the large amount of privacy that is afforded to individual households in

I know lots of non-cohousing Intentional communitas that would look at
cohousing and say, man I could never live there, not enough privacy. For
example, some of the folks that live at Alpha Farm, a long time, very well
known commune in Oregon have WAY more personal privacy than the folks at
Doyle street do. Some of them even have bigger personal spaces.

Lots of stereotypes about Intentional communities get played out in the
press all the time. I think this list is not a good place to add to those.
All of us who live cooperatively have a great deal do learn and share with
each other.

Rob Sandelin
Northwest Intentional Communities Association (19 cohousing groups included)
Sharingwood Cohousing

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