Re: Optimal Size
From: Hans Tilstra (
Date: Sun, 14 May 2000 18:06:43 -0600 (MDT)
I'd love to hear what the experiences & retrospective wisdoms are in
American cohousing developments regarding optimal size.

I've gone back to McCamant & Durrett's views on optimal size:

"Living in such a small community [six or fewer households] is more
demanding because residents depend more on each other> if one person
temporarily needs extra time to conenctrate on professional interest,
thereby limiting community participation, the others feel the loss.
Residents must be good friends and must agree on most issues in order to
live this independently. In addition, residents in small housing groups
often have difficulty maintaining the energy to organize common activities
over a period of many years. Larger groups can more readily abosord varying
degrees of participation and differences in opinion. "

page 42

On page 157 & 158 they break it up as follows:

SMALL: 6-12 households
- need for greater compatability
- allows less diversity
- requires greater commitment
- more common for people to move out when disagreement occurs
- common facilities take up larger % of $ per household

MEDIUM: 15 -30 households
- "small enough to know everyone, but large enough to avoid those you don't
particularly care for"
- large enough for extensive shared facilities, but small enough to be
managed by direct democracy

LARGE: 35 plus
- max economies of scale
- slower approval process
- "It isn't possible to know each other as well as you'd like - it would be
better if it were a little smaller"
- fading distinction between "common" and "public"

Pages refer to the 1988 book (with the light blue cover)

:-) Hans Tilstra
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