Re: Young Adult Cohousers
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Sat, 31 Jan 2009 12:11:32 -0800 (PST)
Having been a parent, and being a teacher of high school and college kids I
am doubtful that many young adult cohousers will stay in the community they
were raised in.  It is the norm in our society for young adults to leave
their childhood residence and create a residence of their own. Independence
from parents is considered a sign of success. In most cases, young adults
are not in a position to buy a home until they have been in the work force
for quite a few years and there are not a lot of cohousing rentals.  So far
at Sharingwood, ALL of the kids who have left to go off on their life
journeys look back at their cohousing life with fondness but have no desire
to recreate it.  Perhaps when they reach child rearing age will they
reconsider.  It is interesting to me that those kids that I have had the
chance to talk with have all created a solid community of friends and
relationships around them, and I wonder if this is typical of community
raised kids. They all seem to be highly social and create and seek out
social connections regularly. My eldest daughter chooses to live in a highly
social college house with lots of people around her. 

Rob Sandelin
Where 6 kids have grown up and left since I have lived here. 

-----Original Message-----
From: balaji [at] [mailto:balaji [at]] 
Sent: Saturday, January 31, 2009 11:17 AM
To: Cohousing-L
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Young Adult Cohousers

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

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

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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