Re: Diversity in Cohousing
From: Racheli Gai (
Date: Sat, 13 Jul 2002 09:11:01 -0600 (MDT)
>From Racheli
Sonora Cohousing

Regardless of the potential wonderful things the people described by Scott
and Sharon might have brought to cohousing, I seriously question people
who draw conclusions in such a hurry: I suspect that  their willingness to
engage was shallow to begin with:  
They could have stuck around for a while longer, while trying to
contribute  their own point of view, and thereby possibly having an
influence on the direction the group might be heading.  After all, the
"group" is an aggregate of individuals, and new people can change the
flavor of the stew.   I can see how if some  months went by, in which
their efforts to add different ingredients to the mix  were consistently
ignored, or rejected, that leaving might have been a  reasonable option.

When I joined the group Sonora Cohousing evolved from, I (and other
newcomers) *were* excluded in various ways:  The group had a two-
tiered structure which kept people who didn't invest money out of much of
the decision-making (while announcing to newcomers that we were all part
of a consensus process).  I also felt that quite a few of the  members
treated me with suspicion.  I could have left, I suppose, but I figured 
that I could also stay and try to bring about some changes.  This had a
lot to do with being committed to the basic ideas from the start, and
understanding that things don't often get handed to one on a silver


Sharon Villines <sharon [at]> said:

>on 7/12/2002 11:07 AM, Chris ScottHanson at chris [at]

>> We had a problem, we found, when a person came to one of our intro meetings,
>> listened to the goings on and the talk about making everything affordable,
>> and left feeling excluded. She had money and she felt that she wasn t being
>> welcomed. She said nothing at the time, and simply listened to what was
>> being said at our intro meeting.
>> We accidentally learned of this several months later and talked to her at
>> length about the experience for her.  She would have been a valuable
>> participant in our community, in many ways.

>We had a similar problem with a woman who came to three meetings where
>all that was talked about was families with children and how good the
>community would be for children. Since there were already several older
>single people in the group, she also felt unwanted or at least not a
>wanted addition to the group which appeared to unbalanced in a direction
>it didn't want to go.

>In addition she did not want to live in a community where all the
>concerns were about children. Child friendly was okay but child centered
>was not one of her interests. It was really a shame because she had many
>assets, skills, and information that would have been useful to a
>developing group. Some of these were information sources and academic and
>government contacts in affordable housing and green architecture -- all
>of which the group was concerned with at a slightly later point in its

>By the time these misperceptions were corrected, all the larger units she
>would have been interested in were taken.


jnpalme [at] (Racheli Gai)

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