Normative definitions of cohousing
From: Tim Behrend (
Date: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 14:12:08 -0600
At 10:29 PM 2/25/99 -0600, you wrote:
>Needlessly inflexible? Perhaps. Or perhaps I'm just behind the times on
>what the current definition of cohousing *is*! :-) I thought I saw somthing
>posted here awhile ago by Katie Mccamant saying that cohousing should not
>have a specific purpose behind it if it was to be called "cohousing." Or
>maybe I just misinterpreted what she said. Anyway, I think it's a
>worthwhile topic to be debated on the list--should cohousing be
>idea-specific or not?

I don't see any value in looking for a normative definition somewhere out
there . . . certainly not from someone who happened to write a book about
their perspective on a particular form of this lifestyle phenomenon. If
there is a group of people seeking to build a greater sense of community
into their lives that thinks that what they are doing is "cohousing", more
power to them -- whether they are radical queer mormons who only drink jack
daniels and want to use their retrofitted warehouse conversion to lead a
recall vote on the salt lake city olympics or a bunch of people who have
stumbled on a housing option that saves them some money and makes it easy
to find babysitters. Whatever makes a particular group tick is good, I
think, and we have no need to wind up our clock if one group's articulation
of what they are doing is dramatically different from another's.

Tim Behrend
Auckland, New Zealand

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