Re: Relative wealth
From: patjavcc (
Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2006 11:40:25 -0700 (PDT)
 We had a strict 'no customizations' policy when building JP Cohousing.  Once 
you get into customizations, the cost of the entire project (including the less 
fancy units) goes up substantially.
What we ended up doing was spending extra resources in the commonhouse - high 
end appliances, flooring, counters, etc.  This is of course for the enjoyment 
of everyone.  The individual unit finishes were all a medium quality which was 
nice but allowed for mixed income as well.  Those who could afford to upgrade, 
have and will do so.
Patti Lautner
Resident - JPCohousing Boston
-----Original Message-----
From: seniorcohousing [at]
To: cohousing-l [at]
Sent: Sun, 15 Oct 2006 11:45 AM
Subject: [C-L]_ Relative wealth

In some of the earlier literature about cohousing, much was said about equality 
of units--that is, while yours might have three bedrooms for your passel of 
and mine is just a studio, the finish would be almost identical.

I understand why this makes sense from a contractor's costs point of view--this 
isn't what my question is about.

I'm wondering how important the SOCIAL ramifications of this is to a community. 
As someone PLANNING a community, I'm wondering if it would make so much 
difference now that some of us are a little older and one hopes wiser.  

I don't resent the fabulous water-view house of my stinking rich friend: but I 
sure do like sitting on her veranda.  Nor do I snear at another friend's rental 
furnished with Salvation Army rejects.  

Can all three of us live in cohousing together, the wealthier choosing (or 
not) to have a plusher finish to her unit, while our mutual friend might need 
some help with her downpayment and so will put up with the most basic finish?  
or will the differences in wealth in such a tight community cause friction?

I don't want to live in a middle class ghetto.  I'd really prefer the mixture 
richer and poorer.  But if the only way to do this is for the richer to live 
poorer, it's going to be a tough sell to some of our prospects.

Nina, Ocean State CoHousing
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