Re: Achieving age diversity
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2006 06:27:35 -0800 (PST)

On Nov 5, 2006, at 10:16 PM, Barbara Sarah wrote:

We are now recruiting new prospective residents for our 30-36 unit project in Rosendale, NY. We'd like to know how other communities have been able to achieve an equitable mix of ages - families and older people without children. We are doing outreach to schools. pediatricians, etc., yet still are finding it much easier to attract people over 55 years to our meetings. Have any of you designed quotas? If so, what kind? Do they work? All suggestions appreciated.

One tactic mentioned here often is to make the kid friendly features of your project very visible -- have two play areas outside, a tot lot for under 6 and a playground for over 6 with larger play structures and further from the commonhouse (but not too far). And have a kids room inside (under six) next to the dining room and if possible a larger active play space inside with a ping pong table or such.

Show your budget for these toys and equipment with pictures when you display your plans. Advertise "kid-friendly."

Do not build big units and expect people with young kids to be able to afford them.

In our community there is no relationship between size of unit and number of residents under 16. One resident with two thee-year-olds just opted to stay in a one bedroom with a den rather than move up to a three-bedroom that he could technically have afforded because his one bedroom unit is on the piazza and just steps from the playground and the indoor kids room. With the larger unit he would have run the risk of being "house poor" if the boys needed private schools or more childcare. He would not have been able to do things like put the boys to bed and step outside to chat with neighbors in the piazza. Or walk under cover in the rain to take the boys to the kids room to play.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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