Re: Young Adult Cohousers
From: balaji (
Date: Sat, 31 Jan 2009 11:17:24 -0800 (PST)
Sharon's question, for me, provokes another:  do intentional communities
generally promote their own continuance chiefly through recruitment or
through retention of the young? Recruitment-based communities,
historically, have not done especially well:  one thinks of the Shakers,
the Oneida Community, the Harmonists, the Owenites, etc.  The exception
used to be Catholic monasteries, but even they, I believe, have fallen on
hard times.  And in any case, I don't think most cohousers are interested
in celibate lifestyles.  So what is left? The children, and by extension,
people at all different ages.  What do cohousing groups do to retain
people at different life stages?

In my observation, not much -- with the result that most committed
cohousers turn out to be of the generational cohort that came of age in
the 1960's and 1970's.

I, for one, would not consider our cohousing community here in Utah to be
a success unless we retain our own grown-up children.  But how to make
that possible?

I would be interested in knowing from others on this list: how many of you
have adult children living in your own (or even another) IC?

With regards,

Charles W. Nuckolls
Utah Valley Commons

> Something I've noticed is that younger cohousers are less involved
> than people above 30-35.
> What made me think of this is the post on renters and participation
> agreements. People who lease units have been very involved but renters
> of rooms have not. Sometimes they are commuting and this is just a
> bedroom or they are here for a year, but they tend to be younger as
> well.
> The young couples will do work but not take on responsibility for a
> job on an ongoing basis. The professionals will provide information if
> asked but not volunteer it. It is unclear whether they are reading the
> email list.
> We only have one teenager and he isn't involved at all. He watches TV
> in the CH sometimes because he doesn't have one at home. The 10-11
> year olds come to meals with their parents and hang out in the CH.
> Recently "demanded" a room of their own for a Wii and rights to the
> room without adults being able to kick them out to hold a meeting.
> But the 20 somethings keep to themselves. They smile and are polite
> but don't sit down to join a conversation. One who participates
> relatively more is on the cusp of 30-35. Some are fairly newly married.
> The only exception to this was a young man in his mid=twenties who had
> a professional interest in intentional communities and off-the-grid
> living. He was much more involved generally and formed close
> relationships with other residents on an individual basis.
> I'm wondering if this is a stage-of-life characteristic that appears
> in most cohousing communities.
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines
> Takoma Village Cohousing,Washington DC
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