Ideal number of units
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 06:39:01 -0600 (MDT)
> I am looking into cohousing with a proposed 48 units.
> I would appreciate hearing from anybody that has experience with groups over
> say
> 35.
> Tim

We had this discussion a while back in relation to numbers of units and
numbers of residents -- which is more relevant. Large numbers of units do
not correlate with large numbers of units.

We have 43 units and a complex commonhouse. But we have fewer residents than
many smaller projects. Many of our units (the largest and the smallest) are
occupied by one adult. Some of those single adults are in the process of
adopting children so this will change a bit.

I personally like the larger community because it is less intense. You don't
see everyone every day and if I am bugging someone, I can avoid them until
things cool off. It also means we have much more social capital. More
networking resources, more variety, more skills, wider interests.

The larger real estate is a burden to me personally because I'm one of those
people who is constantly aware of what needs to be done next and how long it
has been since something needed to be fixed and hasn't been. My dream of
living in cohousing where I could focus on those tasks that I do well and
let others do the rest has not (yet) materialized. But we are new and still
working out construction omissions and corrections, so that may not last. We
are blessed with people who enjoy landscaping and mowing so that has gone
very well, as has having a clean, orderly commonhouse.

Our commonhouse is complex -- a bigger advantage and burden than square
footage. It has taken longer than most of us wished to get all the special
use rooms functioning well -- music room, workshop, office (computer
maintenance), kids room, kitchen, exercise room, hot tub, basement(s).

So the question is more complex than number of units.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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