Re: Governance & Income Inequality [ was Common house design, rooms, and room sizes?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sat, 14 Feb 2015 09:24:39 -0800 (PST)
> On Feb 14, 2015, at 10:11 AM, Elizabeth Magill <pastorlizm [at]> 
> wrote:
> Mosaic is just 6 years after move
> in. (really 5 years 10 months or sometthing like that.)
> My point is Mosaic is a baby, or rather toddler. What "works" for the
> long haul is not discerned from our community, yet.

I find that this is very important. We are 15+ years from move-in with 16 out 
of 43 units occupied by people who have been here less than half that time, 
some only 2 years or less. The people who were here in 2000 are 15 years older 
and household composition is different than it was, some having changed several 
times. Things that were unthinkable then are considered normal by new people. 
And things that were strongly held ideals have disappeared.

What works and what works in other places have become more the norms than "we 
want to change how things are done," or "we want to create a new way of doing 
things." I miss the "we want to do things the best way they can be done" and 
"we want to strive for the highest sustainable standards."

Sort of separate from idealism is that I find making a division between Condo 
and Coho dues to be a path to the devil. (I realize communities that have 
subsidized housing are bound by certain laws in this respect.)

Before move-in we had to make the decision about whether meal 
prep/cooking/cleanup was mandatory. One of the most active members said, "I'm 
joining a community, not a cooking club." That sealed the deal of no mandatory 
kitchen duty. Shared meals could be defined as "coho" activities but if so, 
wouldn't the kitchen also be "coho." Otherwise most condos have a small food 
prep area in the "party room," sometimes a small kitchen. Half the CH expenses 
would be coho and the other have condo.

I think our decision was almost fatal regarding a meal program. If everyone had 
been expected to help produce meals we would have a greater number of meals but 
also a greater variety. (Other efforts are currently producing more meals and 
events but that's another topic.)

The architecture supports what goes on inside it. The facilities are what makes 
the collaborative possible. In the absence of decades of family and 
neighborhood history, the housing is what makes the social relationships work. 

Fatal is too strong a word but conceptually dividing the two seems arbitrary. 
When our members start talking about these divisions, it is usually because 
there is some feature they don't personally use. 

And not including the landscape in the condo is very strange. In real estate 
the landscape adds to the value of the property and is thus crucial to 
maintaining market value and curb appeal. So just on those terms it is a condo 

(I'm sure these thoughts are obvious to many but someone out there won't have 
thought of this.)

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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