Re: hostile comment to Fort Collins newspaper article
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2009 04:22:46 -0800 (PST)

On Feb 17, 2009, at 11:34 PM, Muriel Kranowski wrote:

Are there really cohousing communities that dictate what the inside of your house has to be like (other than building similar units, as every developer
does as much as possible, to keep costs down),

Some people see this as dictating the inside of your home. I have beige countertops, a color I think is one of the seven deadly sins, because the developer needed to cut costs by having one color. The design team thought beige was "more neutral" than blue. Well, yes it is. That's my point. It's nothing. To avoid beige linoleum, I chose all wood, even in the kitchen.

My friends see "putting up" with this, and other "dictates," as lunacy and have not a clue why I live here.

or that disbanded after
people had moved in and community life had begun because of the kinds of
interpersonal disputes given as examples?

I think much more of the failure of forming cohousing groups is because of personality conflicts than is spoken. I don't think there are any studies of why groups fail but it is easier to measure "land too expensive" or "no construction loan" than to measure personal conflicts.

It takes lot of energy and togetherness to start a community, and everyone has to be going in the same direction, or to allow one cluster in the group to choose the direction. One would also have to measure why the group doesn't attract new members, as many failed communities haven't.

My friends see a lot of "conflict" in my community that I see as personalities -- "It's just people. Let them play it out." As frustrated as I get, and I get very angry, I also see the social downside of not having those people. My friends don't.

Even my daughter has not a clue why I live here. She has many friends that she has had since high school and college but she says if they lived this close together, they would not have lasted 20 years. She would rather have a lot of close friends, across town or two states away, than close neighbors.

 jlbraun1's comments seem to me
to be irrationally hostile and not true to coho reality, but my knowledge
base is rather limited.

I think her comments are irrational, but I live in cohousing. My friends would find her comments too sweeping in their generalizations but they are totally in agreement with her point of view.

Also, this woman is unfortunately using "cohousing" to include many kinds of communities. She can't have that broad an experience of real cohousing or we would all know who she is.

Rob Sandlin has made two observations that I think are coming into play here. When some people leave cohousing they just leave. Others go out in a burst of flames.

She may well have gone out in a burst of flames from somewhere.

His other comment is that groups grow less diverse over time. Like chooses like. Unlikes leave. People grow to be alike.

There are probably a lot of unlikes out there that will increasingly come back to bite us.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing,Washington DC

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