Re: Diversity in Cohousing
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sat, 13 Jul 2002 09:45:01 -0600 (MDT)
on 7/13/2002 9:41 AM, Racheli Gai at jnpalme [at] wrote:

> 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.

For people who have already had good experiences with groups and shared
community activities, this is a reasonable assumption. But many people have
had no experience or bad experience. Many people are not able to present
their needs to a group -- many may not really know what they are or don¹t'
know how to articulate them. To present them to a group of strangers talking
about a concept like cohousing that they have never heard of before is not
possible for them.

One could argue that in this case they would not be good candidates for
cohousing but that again limits diversity in cohousing. If we feel that
cohousing is a good way to live, we may have to be a bit more proactive in
reaching out to people who attend just one meeting and don't return.

This is certainly difficult when there is so much work to do but the fact
remains some people who would be very good members of cohousing communities
are not included because of the ways that cohousing is presented, however,
unwittingly. This limits the building of new communities in ways that I'm
not sure are necessary to preserving the integrity of cohousing.

With the inexperienced presenting to the even more inexperienced,
misunderstandings and artificial barriers are inevitable, and limit
diversity. Blaming the victim is not always the best answer.

In Washington DC where all roads lead to Casablanca

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