Re: What is co-housing really?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2008 13:41:57 -0700 (PDT)
Cindy T <cindy_t25 [at]> wrote:

In some ways, it begins to seem to me that many are just another form of property development. "Community" seems to mean that similar people get together and may have a common house and might share meals and chores, but do not commit to goals of inclusiveness of diversity, compassion for the less fortunate, certainly not a sense of being our brother's keeper, or other things requiring really major attitude adjustments from standard American home developments.

One of the advantages of cohousing over other forms of intentional communities is that they do not require "commitments" beyond being a good neighbor. But they do this to a much greater extent than is either expected or possible in most new neighborhoods. This in fact allows more diversity. If you preset values, you also have to define how those values will be implemented -- itself very divisive and exclusive.

Attracting enough households that can afford the time and money required to build a community is hard work and would be even harder if everyone were required to sign on to a list of values. Few people want to live where they are judged by their neighbors. Others refuse on principle to require statements of commitment from themselves or from others.

Images of Joseph McCarthy loom too large.

If they do want to commit to a set of values, they would probably be attracted to a different form of intentional community.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing,Washington DC

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