Re: Cohousing vs. communal
From: Arielle Greenberg Bywater (
Date: Mon, 15 Feb 2010 06:17:00 -0800 (PST)
Just to back up what Brian said, I am currently working on a research project 
about the new back-to-the-land movement, and one thing I do is look at how the 
commune model of the previous generation has been altered in the new generation 
(and cohousing is one option for this change!).  The commune model often failed 
due to a lack of clear policies, good process, and issues around ownership, 
workload and privacy.   It's my sense that by its nature, cohousing seeks to 
proactively address these problems.

Also, someone in our community used to live in another community where kitchen 
sharing happened, and she was just telling us this weekend how sharing a 
kitchen led to constant conflict that was a LOT of work, and that the community 
could not recommend kitchen sharing.  In our culture, the kinds of issues 
brought up around kitchen sharing are intense.  At the very least, I'd plan to 
do serious skill-training around conflict resolution for all the members in 
your household, Alex!

Another idea: check out one of the communes that has made it work--such as The 
Farm or Twin Oaks--and ask how they've solved for the typical problems of such 
arrangements.  My guess is a lot of the solutions have to do with very clearly 
delineated--and ongoing renegotiation of--roles, tasks and policies.  

Good luck with seeing your vision through!

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