Re: parking and common house placement
From: Mac Thomson (
Date: Sun, 8 Feb 2004 20:11:22 -0700 (MST)
We have 24 homes in roughly a "V" shape with the common house at the point
of the "V".  We have 4 parking lots distributed on the outside of the "V".
Part of the reason we distributed the parking was to create greater
accessibility for those who might need it.

When we designed the community, we envisioned all able bodied folks entering
their homes via the central pathway, but the reality is that many folks
living on the outside of the "V", close to parking, enter their homes
directly through their back doors.  While this doesn't preclude community
from happening, I feel that it's a lost opportunity for community

ALL interaction weaves ever more threads in the community fabric, even a
brief 'Hello' on the path.  During that 'Hello' I reinforce my connection
with my neighbor and their life becomes a part of my momentary consciousness
-- 'Lee's going to go play basketball.  He's playing JV this year, but
seeing a little time with the varsity squad.'  "Good luck at the game, Lee!"

In his book, "Life Between Buildings", Jan Gehl talks about the importance
of creating a critical mass of all kinds of social interactions.  As social
interactions increase, a space becomes more alive and attracts people,
creating yet more interactions and attracting even more people.

Back when we did our 'Introduction to Cohousing' slideshows, we used to
contrast the lifeless suburbs where people hit the garage door opener, drive
on in, and disappear from the neighborhood with the rich community life to
be found in cohousing where neighbors pass each other on the pathways
exchanging warm greetings.  That's of course simplistic and idealistic, but
I believe that it also holds a significant kernel of truth.

I like the walk from my car to my home.  Besides the opportunity for
interaction, I also get to transition from the outside world to my community
to my home.  Without the short walk, it would be more of a transition simply
from the outside world to my home without the reinforcement of my place in
my community.

My 2¢ worth,

Mac Thomson

Heartwood Cohousing
Southwest Colorado

"A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the best
         - Robert Frost

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