Re: limited-access events in common space
From: John Beutler (
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 2010 11:35:45 -0800 (PST)
Actually, Muriel & I were involved in just this sort of situation at Shadow Lake Village recently. A bunch of us Liberty Villagers staged what we like to call a "home invasion pod dinner" to visit a former LVer who moved to SLV (partly because they had a functioning common house). We told our friend that he could invite 2 friends and we'd eat in the common house, since that would be a total of 10 folks (too big for his place) and we had no intention of feeding the whole community (!). As it happened, about a dozen other folks, including Muriel, showed up and added potluck and everybody had a nice time. I don't think any feelings were hurt, though I think some soup intended for another meal might have been consumed....anyway, it seems to me that many common houses are underutilized. BTW, SLV has a wonderful common house.

I think those whose feelings would be hurt by small groups doing distinct things should look at their expectations for cohousing. We're not here to meet ALL of each other's needs for companionship. Remember the theory of a balance between public and private. I think that applies.

And, I think it's OK to announce that Liberty Village will soon have a temporary common house that will be an upgrade on how we've been making do....details to follow on a creative solution, once it's a done deal.



Muriel Kranowski wrote:
At 11:31 AM 2/21/2010, Sharon Villines wrote:
<snip> So if I were a member of a group that
decided it only wanted the "six of us" and no one else was allowed to
join and we met in the CH, it would be very obvious and hurtful to at
least some other members.

One of the selling points I've often seen about cohousing is that you can live a pleasant life in a much smaller house because you have access to nice common elements, the largest being the CH.

Once you have made this one of your marketing points, as we did, then it seems unfair to say "No, it's really a COMMON house and you can't use it as though it were your living room." Of course the community will want to impose rules on the use of common spaces, but if these rules are obeyed, then I don't understand what is wrong with an exclusive "living room" use as long as it is clearly scheduled. All the more so if a community has some chagrin in seeing its CH be underutilized. If there is already lots of use and small-group use would make most of the CH unavailable to others, then a permission process could be set up.

Sharon mentions one thing that's wrong with this, namely that other community members will feel hurt at being excluded. This may be true, but I can't help but think that if the affinity group decided to squeeze into one another's homes for their weekly get-togethers instead of using the CH, this would soon become known ("Oh, sorry, I can't do xyz at that time - that's when a bunch of us get together") and some people would feel quite hurt at not being allowed to join.

   Shadowlake Village Cohousing, Blacksburg, VA

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