Re: New Home Developments
From: Jasmine Gold (
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 1999 13:09:43 -0600
Paul Milne wrote:

> One of the tenets of cohousing that has been drummed into us over the years
> has been "The future residents play an active part in designing the site".

Chuck and Katie's book on Cohousing defines Participatory Process (under Common
Characteristics) as: "Residents organize and participate in the planning and
design process for the housing development, and are responsible as a group for 
final decisions" (2nd edition, p. 38).

It doesn't specify the amount and type of involvement or that it must be 
from scrach. Therefore, I would argue that our group (and other retrofit type
projects) do fit this. We are organizing to find people to buy into it, will be
needing to find ways to integrate additional common facilties into the project,
may be able to influence the landscaping, etc. We are making final decisions by
our choice whether it suits our needs enough to buy into it.  Our choice of 
allows us to attract people (especially those with kids) who are ready to move 
while our kids are young and can benefit. We don't want to wait years for it to
happen and to spend all the time it would take.

No site is ideal. In my case, the site layout of the 23 home part of the
development (as well as the 35 homes including the additional 12) is very close 
my ideal layout (and if we had a group consensing on it probably wouldn't have
gotten much closer except for the common house). The drawbacks of thee housing
layouts is balanced for me by a a much lower density than I had expected to be
able to afford and by being in area that I prefer to live in and would be
extremely unlikely to find land in.

Another interesting note about cohousing common characteristics is that while
Chuck and Katie state that Extensive Common Facilities are part of cohousing, it
does not specifically state a common house. Are there other developments 
without a
common house and what kind of common facilities have yout set up?

I think these are interesting issues to explore and hope others will join the
discussion. I apologize if my message seems scattered or brief as I am busy in
getting the project going.


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