Re: Age Diversity in Groups
From: Howard Landman (
Date: Mon, 15 May 2000 16:38:52 -0600 (MDT)
I wrote:
>> In "A Pattern Language" ... The
>> conclusion is that to have a reasonable probablility of having enough
>> kids in each age group for each other to play with, you need to have
>> over 50 families in the cluster.  This assumes the cluster roughly
>> matches the age distribution of the population at large.

And Diane responded:
> Yet in chapter 37, (page 200) "House Clusters" the same author writes:
> "The clusters seem to work best if they have between 8 and 12 houses each.

I think they're distinguishing house cluster per se based on ideal meeting
size from the larger supercluster/neighborhood based on kids' peer groups.
The difficulty is that many cohousing developments are considered
to be neighborhoods unto themselves and have limited connectivity into the
surrounding areas.  In our case, we've got a road and a railroad track
separating us from the nearest houses and a park and a river on the other
side.  Anyway, if you're trying to be both a house cluster (optimal size
under 10) and a neighborhood (optimal size around 55), something has got
to be suboptimal.  (RRC is at 34 households, and our meetings often feel
too big and too long, and we don't have quite enough children.)

I suppose, if we assume both of these considerations are valid, that it
implies the ideal cohousing structure would be a set of perhaps 5 to 7
housing clusters, with 8 to 12 households in each cluster.  Each cluster
would be somewhat independent of the others legally, so that decisions
about e.g. landscaping wouldn't have to be reviewed by anyone outside
the cluster, but they might share a large common facility as well, and
they'd be arranged so that there were kid-safe connections linking all
the clusters together.

This raises a lot of questions - does each cluster have a common space,
a kitchen, etc., or is that reserved for the supercluster common area?
It sounds somewhat different from the standard cohousing model (if such
a thing can be said to exist).  Also, getting all the car connections
and kid-safe connections to work might be tricky, since you don't want
them to cross each other very often.  But I think it should be doable
if anyone wanted to try it ...

Of course, the above assumes no relationship to non-cohousing entities.
It may also be possible to get critical mass of kids and implement the
Connected Play pattern by building an appropriate spatial and social
relationship with the surrounding community.

        Howard Landman

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