RE: Private? Public? or something in between?
From: Eileen McCourt (
Date: Tue, 5 Jun 2001 20:21:01 -0600 (MDT)
I am not a cohousing member simply to improve my own living environment.  To
me cohousing has a broader appeal, and being a good neighbor within the
larger community is definitely part of it.  Of course, there are lots of
different ways to be a good neighbor.  But treating open space in the
community as private property where neighbors are not welcome is not part of


Eileen McCourt
Oak Creek Commons
Cohousing in Paso Robles, CA
emccourt [at]

-----Original Message-----
From: cohousing-l-admin [at]
[mailto:cohousing-l-admin [at]]On Behalf Of Hans Tilstra
Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2001 6:41 PM
To: cohousing-l [at]
Subject: Re: [C-L]_Private? Public? or something in between?

Hans >" I wouldn't want to deprive the surrounding community of the
awareness that there is a price that comes with having a conventional
housing solution."

Racheli responded: > "Most of the people who live near us couldn't afford a
unit in Sonora even if they were dying to join!  I think quite a few
cohousing communities are located in places where there is a socio-economic
discrepancy between the coho dwellers and the neighbors.  Simply barring
neighbors might mean not having any friends around once one leaves the
boundaries of the community.  I think this is short-sighted, and certainly
not what many of us are looking for in terms of integration into the larger

There's this concept called an approach avoidance dilemma: the closer I get
to a goal, the more ambivalent I feel about it. Yet, when I am far from
achieving the goal, it seems more tantalising than ever.

We start off "thinking globally & acting locally". The main focus is social
& environmental. We are surrounded by people who act in private - public
terms, it's in that context that we introduce the nuanced idea of group
private spaces in between the public & private areas. So, someone drives
into the cohousing community, ignores the signs and acts as if to say:
either it's public, or it's private! A visiting teenager graffiti's the
common house.  That's not integration, that invasion.

We want a better community and overcome the challenges of planning
conservatism, steep learning curves, lots of meetings, all in pursuit of a
better living environment. We embrace social & environmental ideals, some
cohousing groups even embrace socio-economic ideals.

Once that goal is achieved, are we reluctant to enjoy the fruits of that

:-) Hans

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