Re: Motivations and Realities
From: Howard Landman (
Date: Fri, 28 Jun 2002 15:35:02 -0600 (MDT)

> Howard, I know you know me and will not take offense when I say, "Oh,
> please!!!"

I don't take offense, but ...
> this is just too obvious to waste everyone's time reading it.
> If you don't know by now why we need to help poor people get housing, and
> why rich people don't need our help, I can only say, "duh".

First of all, notice that you changed the question from whether poor people
should be especially encouraged (more than anybody else) to move into
cohousing, to whether poor people need help getting any kind of housing.
This latter is not a question I asked.

And then you respond to the unasked question in a manner quite typical
of biases that are so deep-seated that they are never even discussable.
For conservative columnist George Will, for example, it is so obvious
that gay marriage, polygamy, etc. are bad ideas that they do not even
need to be talked about.  Well, sorry, I don't accept that form of
argument from anyone.  Not him, not you.

Consider the following statements and how strongly you agree or disagree
with them:
- I personally would rather live among people poorer than myself than
  among people richer than myself.
- I personally enjoy dealing with government regulations re subsidized
  housing for low income people.
- I would not mind having the amount of money we can spend on anything
  in cohousing be limited by the financial situation of the poorest
Now, if you strongly agree with all of these, maybe for you this issue
doesn't need discussing.  But it seems to me that anyone who disagreed
with even one of the above might find something to discuss.

Look, to be explicit: I think affordable housing for low-income people
can be a good idea.  I think cohousing can be a good idea.  What I'm
questioning is whether mixing those two concepts is always, inevitably,
without need for discussion, a good idea.  I don't think it is, but it
seems to get treated as if it was in many posts here.

To give just one real example, there is often a tradeoff to be made
between "cheap" and "environmentally friendly"/"energy efficient".
Using recycled materials sometimes costs more.  Adding extra insulation
and making all windows be double-glazed costs more.  Doing these things
makes housing less "affordable" to a short-sighted person who can't
think beyond this month's bills.  To someone with a long planning
horizon, who considers "total cost of ownership" instead of initial
price, these things may be wise investments.

Therefore, I believe that in many cases emphasizing affordable housing
for low-income persons will force compromise on other important issues.
And it bothers me to see this going undiscussed and assumed to be
negligible when it isn't.

        Howard A. Landman
        River Rock Commons
        Fort Collins CO
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