Re: Re:rules and regulations
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Tue, 30 Aug 2005 08:46:34 -0700 (PDT)

On Aug 29, 2005, at 10:52 PM, Evdavwes [at] wrote:

Are there any co-housing
communities that struggle with the tension around how things look and the different standards held by members? How have other communities resolved issues related to the physical appearance of common areas and areas visible to all?

I can't say we have resolved this issue but we have improved conditions just by talking about them. Doing a round in a community meeting and listening to how everyone feels about this has been very helpful in cleaning the place up a bit. It raises awareness.

The tension point that remains is people using indoor furniture outdoors (old upholstered furniture on balconies) and using areas intended for outdoor furniture as storage like attics or basements.

The strollers get a bit out of hand since some households have several but in general everyone likes having the kid stuff around. Just talking about it has resulted in neater storage of strollers.

Talking about this in a group allows you to sort out points like "Well, I would hate to live in a community where a parent can't roll their stroller up to the door and take the baby inside" by pointing out that "Some of these strollers haven't been used in two years. Several are only used in the summer and have been out all winter."

The commitment to living in smaller spaces and reducing personal "stuff" never quite sunk in for some households and they use the size of the unit as justification for using commonspace for storage. Making everyone more aware of what is commonspace and what is private space has helped. "Shared" does not mean it is yours to take.

I would say, however, that just sharing is best -- rules and regs are too hard to write and as soon as you do the circumstances change. Just listening to how people feel is very effective.

BUT I recommend a community meeting for this, not a one on one. It's interesting that people want to live in community but they want to identify problems as personal problems. What is community if everything is a personal problem with a personal solution?

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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