Re: architects and developers
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2003 12:28:08 -0700 (MST)

On Nov 21, 2003, at 1:58 PM, Laura Fitch wrote:

A local architect without cohousing experience may spend a lot of his/her time and yours redesigning the wheel and allowing the group process to get bogged down in little issues that do not matter in the big picture.

In developing cohousing, any part of it, this is what really counts -- finding a consultant who knows what is important and what is not important in the big picture. Long run, does this matter? Is this a deal breaker down the line?

One of the things to remember is that cohousing is not unique -- the total sum of all the parts may be unique but there are communities out there with all the social benefits of cohousing, others with all the physical amenities, and others with the same legal structure. My mother lives in a subsidized housing community that could easily be a cohousing community. Trust me, the developer and the owner have never heard of "cohousing" much less studied it, but the similarity is remarkable.

I have a friend who lives in a large group house that is a Limited Liability Corporation. All the residents own a piece of the pie. I've lived in condominium and apartment complexes with very strong social ties between neighbors, usually those who lived on the same hallway or around the same piazza. We just didn't have a commonhouse.

All a cohousing community is doing is putting them together in a particular way, all at once -- building everything from scratch intentionally. If you can find some Bisquick to help you get the biscuits baked -- use it!

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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