RE: Ideology in Cohousing
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 14:38:35 -0600
What is an ideology? How is this different than a group value? My working
definition of ideology is a belief that everybody in the community is
expected to subscribe to. Many groups call these, "core values". In some
case I am not sure what the difference is.

The most common ideology in cohousing that I have observed is environmental.
Many cohousing groups espouse environmentalist ideology, although they then
turn around and declare that they have no ideology!

Although I have never been there, I suspect a place like Eco-village at
Ithaca would be a good example of a Cohousing group having an overriding
environmental ideology. From what I have seen of such things, they act as
filters, screening people in or out based on whether they believe in the
groups goals. If your goal to protect the environment then having that be an
expectation upfront is going give you all something in common. This is not
necessarily bad. Having a common mission is one of the things that long
lasting communities have in common.

The place where this causes groups problems is where not everybody in the
group subscribes to the groups stated ideology or values. This tends to
either cause sharp disagreements over issues that touch the ideology, or it
tends to dilute the groups ideology.

Rob Sandelin

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