Re: [C-L] Diversity of Cohousing
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sun, 30 Jun 2002 15:35:01 -0600 (MDT)
Again the subject "Diversity in Cohousing" got changed to "the value of
work". The subject is diversity in cohousing with a subtopic of how does
work vs monetary contributions affect diversity in cohousing. Specifically,
how does it limit diversity in cohousing.

> One point which keeps coming up for me is: Why are people who don't want
> to give any of their time to the community in cohousing in the first
> place?

Because they want to live in a community that is also connected to the
larger community. They don't see cohousing as their only community or the
limits of their community. It is the place they live and they live with
their neighbors in a closer relationship that they can live elsewhere. But
they don't want cohousing to limit their involvement in the larger community
or other activities..

> If we allow
> people to give money instead of doing work, the shitwork will be done by
> those who can't afford to pay.

This is an assumption that has not been proven. In the 60s rotating all
tasks became a strategy to establish equality. It was quickly found to be
even more limiting because not everyone is either interested or capable in
all areas. This meant in the women's movement, for example, that groups were
limited to those who _could_ do all tasks and had time to do them. Those who
couldn't  (for whatever reason) were left out or didn't feel welcome.

In cohousing, I would hope that allowing a wider range of abilities and
disabilities, including work and income preferences would be "allowed".

> [work is] *at least* as important as the more tangible "product",  and are
> probably a lot more important to the well-being of the community.

Again, some of us find that working together produces closer relationships,
and others of us find that it produces irritation and frustration. Some are
happy doing "for" others, and some are happy doing "with" others. Others are
already doing more work than they can handle and do not need more to feel
they are members of a community.

One of the most workable strategies for measuring contributions and
community satisfaction is to ask everyone "Are you happy with your current
level of contribution? If you aren't, stop contributing so much or
contribute more, as appropriate."

If some people are happy contributing money, how does this affect the
definition of cohousing? How does it contribute to diversity in cohousing?
Limit diversity in cohousing? Is workshare a necessary prerequisite to
calling a community cohousing? Does "build it together" have to mean doing
all the work literally or can it mean making decisions together?

>> "Sprawling houses" is changing the subject again, as well as introducing
>> emotion laded rhetoric. But that aside, this brings up another point. Do
>> you help people who have lower incomes (by choice or otherwise) by
>> limiting everyone in the community to their means, or do you share the
>> wealth of others, voluntarily, by allowing those with more means to
>> contribute it to the community?
> In fairness, I think that David's references were based for the most part
> on examples  that you provided.

None of my examples included sprawling houses,  or any changes in cohousing
structures as they have been built already, except for the needs of some
people for greater security. And others for private entertaining space in
the commonhouse that would also be available to the rest of the community on
whatever basis the community accepted.

The issue is that "rich" is seen as "reprehensible" and "poor" is seen as
"noble." This attitude/assumption limits diversity in cohousing and does not
help lower income households at all. Nor does it fit the definitions of
cohousing as they are stated.

****Just for reference according to the US Census Bureau the median income
for males in the US in 2000 was $28,269. Of course, this varies widely and
the number for women is lower: $16,188.

Median, if I'm not mistaken, is the salary that the most people make as
opposed to the average which can be skewed by very high or very low incomes
being averaged in. I'm not sure where "rich" begins.

In Washington DC where all roads lead to Casablanca

Cohousing-L mailing list
Cohousing-L [at]  Unsubscribe  and other info:

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.