Not selecting members in a group
From: Robert Moskowitz (
Date: Sat, 27 Jan 2007 11:28:58 -0800 (PST)
OK, I know some people are going to jump down my throat for saying this, but I've gotta say it:

Have you ever noticed that there are 100 cohousing groups in the U.S. and 20 million or so non-cohousing groups? I'm talking about organic neighborhoods and developer-constructed neighborhoods and even whole communities (like Play Vista in L.A., near where I live).

I've never been happy living among a bunch of strangers where relationships may or may not develop. But I'm thinking that the heavy "group" emphasis of current cohousing and the long-attention-span "group development process" that seems to be a part of cohousing may be more of a burden than:
a) most people are willing to accept, and
b) we need to create village/neighborhoods where we feel more comfortable than we do among total strangers.

What I'm saying, and really asking, is: Isn't there a possibility of developing third way between the kind of random housing choices we have traditionally had and still have in most of America, on one hand, and on the other hand the kind of intensive group experience most cohousing seems to insist on? Shouldn't it be possible for me to find and move into a community, a village, a neighborhood, an apartment or condo building, or whatever, where most of the inhabitants subscribe to certain shared values (environmentalism, tolerance for others, sharing of some resources, sharing a meal once a week or so, helping each other when asked, and so forth) without the need for special architecture, special group processes, group meetings, educational requirements, and other burdensome elements of cohousing as it exists today?

Not that I'm a big believer in markets, but clearly there are far more people today willing to live in random housing than are willing to jump through all the hoops to live in cohousing. From a purely practical perspective, if we can find a way to reduce the number of hoops, mightn't we find more people stepping up to live in a friendlier-than-random environment? And if we had more people stepping up, mightn't there be more cohousing slots than there are right now?

Happy to hear all your thoughts on this....

Robert Moskowitz
Santa Monica, CA

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