Common House Theory
From: Mac Thomson (
Date: Wed, 14 Oct 1998 09:19:21 -0500
Our group, San Juan Cohousing, is about to hold its common house
programming workshop at which we'll decide what types of activities to
build for in our common house.  Based on my visits to other cohousing
neighborhoods, it seems that there are often parts of common houses that
are way underutilized.

I've got a theory about what kind of activities are likely to happen in
the common house (or any common facility for that matter) and I wanted
to bounce it off the people on this list.  My theory is that common
facilities will be used if they:

  A.  Provide a common RESOURCE that a person doesn't have private
access to (e.g., laundry)


  B.  Accomodate a GROUP ACTIVITY (e.g., eating dinner together in
common dining room).

So if a person doesn't need to use a specific common resource for an
activity and if the activity isn't a group activity, it won't happen
much in a common facility.  That's why I think that reading rooms and
meditation rooms in common houses don't tend to get used much.  Those
tend to be private activites that don't require a special common

Any thoughts on this theory?

Mac Thomson
San Juan Cohousing, where much to our amazement and delight, we've sold
out our last 11 spots in 3 weeks and we now have a waiting list.
           Mac Thomson                   San Juan Cohousing
           ganesh [at]                Durango, Colorado
         Web Site:

"It takes two to speak the truth -- one to speak and another to hear."
                            - Henry David Thoreau

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