Re: Cohousing Problems & Drawbacks
From: Elaine (
Date: Sun, 18 Jan 2004 11:17:54 -0700 (MST)
I have been in cohousing just over a year and here are drawbacks i see:

Inevitable conflict you can't walk away from.
Unresolveable conflicts (like pet policies).
Dealing with people who are high-need and can negatively affect the group or
subsets of the group. I wonder if community living doesn't attract a few
people who have problems getting along with others.
Lots of meetings.
Having to work when it's scheduled instead of when you feel like it.
Consensus bogging down or preventing things getting done.
Being more on "display" than you would be in the suburbs.
Lack of storage in our small units, but maybe that's just our coho.
Having to cook to accommodate myriad diet restrictions instead of cooking
the recipes that turn you on.

But for every drawback i immediately want to say why these aren't drawbacks
but truly opportunities to evolve. There is an upside to all of these
(meetings are ways to get to know how others think, and just to get to know
others; dealing with conflict or people you find difficult is such a great
life skill; lack of storage is a great way to cut down on consumerism). When
i was looking at cohousing literature i was put off by the very rosy picture
painted, but after one year i have to say the rewards far outweigh the
cascadia commons, portland, or

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs - ask yourself what makes you
come alive,  and then go do it. Because what the world needs is people
who have come  alive." -- Harold Thurman Whitman

> From: Bambi Rattner <jehush2003 [at]>
> Reply-To: Developing cohousing - collaborative housing communities
> <cohousing-l [at]>
> Date: Sun, 18 Jan 2004 09:57:47 -0800 (PST)
> To: cohousing-l [at]
> Subject: [C-L]_ Cohousing Problems & Drawbacks
> Hi Everyone,
> We're part of a cohousing community that will be built
> within a year or two.  We have almost all of our
> members in place, but we got a query from a potential
> new member that sent us back to thinking about why we
> value the project in the first place and about the
> potential problems of living together.  The new person
> has said that he sees our enthusiasm for cohousing but
> would like a bit more information and more of our
> thoughts about the possible drawbacks.  Many of us
> have responded with some of the fears and anxieties
> that are the flip side of our hopes and dreams, but
> most of us have not actually lived in cohousing
> before, so everything is rather hypothetical.
> We'd be grateful if those of you currently living in
> cohousing communities would respond with your own
> thoughts and experiences about some of the issues,
> problems, drawbacks, etc. of living in community.
> Thanks, 
> Bambi (Rocky Hill Cohousing, Northampton, MA)
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