RE: Development Financial Structure
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 21:35:05 -0700 (MST)
 Elizabeth Stevenson said:
And you're setting up a two tiered social system
if you only let the people with less income in AFTER you have made all the
decisions about the community and how it will be first.

I don't agree that this is necessarily the outcome. What you are doing in
this hypothetical case is letting people who have the money determine how
the BRICKS AND STICKS of the community will be designed. This is not really
a problem for almost anybody that has any sense. Who really cares about that
stuff? The attraction of cohousing for most people is the relationship
stuff, not how many feet wide the sidewalk is. The real community is what
you do together, and the stuff you do for each other, and after 2-3 years,
the bricks and sticks matter not a whit to almost all the stuff you will be
doing. Yes, if those that plan it, don't provide for a garden space, or some
other amenity, or if they are clueless about social design, then you will
not have that, but that will be apparent for those that evaluate it later.
If a poorly designed community is not acceptable to them, they won't choose
to live there. But a few people with money, and smarts, could in fact design
an excellent place for everybody to live. There are certainly lots and lots
of examples to learn from, and looking at what others have done seems fairly

This would be the case if you let a developer design your community for you.
It is entirely conceivable, and I think its even happening, where a
developer designs and does all the development work and just sells units. I
believe this could work to form an excellent cohousing community if you
spent the right amount of time defining the relationship expectations for
future members. But then again, maybe not. All of this cohousing and
community stuff is a big experiment, and so trying out new ideas will show
us how well they work.

Everybody who has bought a home in an already existing cohousing community
had NO SAY at all in the bricks and sticks, but have a say in the daily
operations of how things run, and are no less members of a community.
Eventually, there will be nobody at Sharingwood who had anything to do with
its development. I'd like to believe, the relationships will still be just
as important. In fact, as the years go by, I find that new people have much
less pre-conceived  notions about  how it "was supposed to be" and thus can
see things quite a bit more clearly about what it actually is.

Rob Sandelin

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