Re: Not selecting members in a group
From: David Heimann (
Date: Sat, 27 Jan 2007 17:52:13 -0800 (PST)

Hi Robert,

I would imagine buying into an existing cohousing group fits the third way you describe. In that way one can become a part of a cohousing community without the years of meetings, works, financial dealings, etc., that forming a new group entails.

Of course, one doesn't get to define the original culture and original design of the community either, nor does one get to know one's neighbors in that special way that being pioneers with them brings.

David Heimann
JP Cohousing

Date: Sat, 27 Jan 2007 11:28:49 -0800
From: Robert Moskowitz <robert [at]>
Subject: [C-L]_ Not selecting members in a group
To: cohousing-l [at]
Message-ID: <45BBA7F1.5060007 [at]>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed

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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