Definitions of Residential Density [was: chickens in cohousing / urban density]
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Thu, 10 Jul 2008 05:21:04 -0700 (PDT)

On Jul 9, 2008, at 10:17 PM, Craig Ragland wrote:

And some of us using Coho-L are the very ones that filled out the
Communities/Cohousing Directory records for our communities. Are our
definitions subjective? yes. Are we consistent in the way we categorize?
almost certainly not.

One way to obtain less subjective data would be to develop definitions so people will have some guidelines.

The "4 dwelling units per acre" may not be a useful one because no one will know what that is unless they have access to or look up that data for their geographic area -- if it exists for every area. And since a condo is usually more than 4 units per acre in and of itself, many more would be "urban." It would have to be 4 units per acre for a given number of square miles, I would think.

From the data supplied, we should probably not assume that all these communities are "urban," in the sense that those of us who have lived in big cities like New York City, Chicago, or LA think it is.

This data surprised a lot of people, particularly those who are very familiar with cohousing communities. If you start trying to count up the urban communities you can think of, it gets hard to name more than a few.

Some people in our community do not consider Takoma Village urban because we are in a neighborhood of single family homes -- on small lots with only a driveway between them, but still single family homes. But DC is by any definition, I think, entirely urban.

Some cities have incorporated many areas that I would consider very suburban. Oklahoma City has incorporated areas that I would consider recreational areas with open land and lakes. Yet, I think everyone would consider Oklahoma City a "city" and thus "urban."

I also think "suburban" has come to be associated with tacky and boring so many people would avoid that definition.

I have no idea how to define urban, suburban, etc. in a way that would be generally understood, but I'm sure people on the list could help develop one.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing,Washington DC

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