Re: Kids and the Common House
From: Kristin Becker (
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 13:17:03 -0600 (MDT)
Randy -
Allowing the kids to help plan in an excellent idea.  I will really make it
feel their's when it is built.  I do not live in a cohousing community yet,
but am interested in the whole structure.  However, being a 5th year
architecture student and having worked with kids for many years I do have a
Depending on how involved the architect is, if he or she is willing to lead,
or anyone else with a background in planning issues and children.  I would
break the kids into age groups and hold "focus group" meetings.  Start out
with a mini presentation (this could be everyone together) of what has
already been planned.  Then in groups have a brainstorming session of the
types of areas and activities each group would like to see.  Then get
everyone together to talk about what they want and see how the different
spaces could meld together.  Then break again and hold "design charrettes".
This could be done by individuals or in group of three or four.  Have the
kids come up with design organizations - how spaces can lead from one to the
next, etc.  This kind of designing could be really helpful for the architect
and gives realistic assistance as to how they want the building to work
without the concepts of castle's, etc, "getting in the way".  For the
different age groups, you could vary what they design.  Maybe the youngest
kids work on a playroom or playground or aspects of them and the older kids
can do the more conceptual entire design and maybe focus on a game or tv
type room.  There's a lot of different ways it could be structured.  Be sure
to keep the whole thing to 3 or 4 hours - like a saturday morning or
something - before you lose everyone's attention.
Good luck!

----- Original Message -----
From: "Randy Sailer" <rsailer [at]>
To: <cohousing-l [at]>
Sent: Monday, May 19, 2003 7:28 PM
Subject: [C-L]_Kids and the Common House

> We are about to start designing our common house and I wanted to get
> some thoughts/advice on how to include the children of the community in
> the process. There were relatively children in the community during the
> site design and through much of of the unit design, but as we have been
> filling up, we have many more children (like over 20 now).
> My 6 year old son is very excited about the common house (I am not sure
> that it can look like a castle, though) and I bet other kids are as
> well. I especially think that some of the teenagers and pre-teens might
> be interested in thinking about their own space needs.
> Our architect is willing and eager to work with the kids and we have a
> kindergarten teacher and an art therapist that are also into it. Any
> suggestions as to a fun process? Any advice? Any watch fors?
> Thanks,
> Randy
> Rocky Hill Cohousing
> Northampton, MA
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