Re: participation in decision making
From: R Philip Dowds (
Date: Thu, 8 Jan 2015 09:23:01 -0800 (PST)
> On Jan 8, 2015, at 11:19 AM, Sharon Villines <sharon [at]> 
> wrote:
> Yes it was my point that (1) it isn't about the process of designing the 
> architecture and (2) the architectural design and redesign goes on and on. 
> You don't design it and its done.
> But the design of the architecture does support the culture and the 
> lifestyle, and influences it greatly.

And of course, I would never disagree.  Even so, all my professional experience 
shows me that while architecture is an important contributing factor, it is 
rarely the prime or decisive factor.  I’ve encountered many examples where a 
practice group or affinity community does what it needs to do, and does it 
well, despite the fact that its building is fighting it every step of the way.  
Conversely, I’ve seen well-intentioned and competent designs fail because they 
over-optimistically anticipated or promoted certain behaviors that turned out 
to be unachievable.

> When our community was developing, the developer didn't believe that we could 
> get enough people interested in living in cohousing so he designed it in two 
> parts -- town houses along a green on the west and an apartment style 
> building on the west. These are visually divided by fire stair towers and an 
> arbor. The apartment style building is around a pizza and the common house.
> Initially only the apartment style half was intended to be cohousing.
> ...
> I purposely chose an apartment style cohousing because I can't imagine that 
> people who live in single family houses can be so integrated. …

I don’t disagree here, either — especially since I have lived high-density ever 
since I escaped high school and suburbia, and moved to a city for college.  
Nonetheless, we must all note that much or most cohousing is in the format of 
single family homes, duplexes, or townhouses.  It’s not clear to me yet that 
these privacy-oriented schemata are more likely to fall short of coho community 
goals than multi-family construction.


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