Re: NPR Morning Edition 2-16-15: Europe Experiments with Cohousing
From: R Philip Dowds (
Date: Mon, 16 Feb 2015 03:17:48 -0800 (PST)
Don’t mean to be negative … But I am not convinced this article is all that 
helpful to the cohousing cause.  It makes cohousing sound like a poverty 
mitigation program, not like intentional community for the mainstream.

Europe in general is more comfortable than America with group living and 
congregate care as a way of reducing housing and service costs for the elderly, 
disabled, disadvantaged, and poor.  This particular project, while clearly of 
merit, is much in that same tradition.

But the American cohousing movement is more for mainstream households that want 
to experiment with intentional community in groups of about 30 to 60 adults.  
As I’ve argued elsewhere, there is no reason to expect cohousing to be 
“cheaper” than regular housing.  Households figure out what they can afford to 
pay for housing, and this number is not particularly elastic.  If they can 
spend $30K a year on housing, most will buy the biggest privatized unit they 
can get.  But a few will instead use that same amount for a cohousing 
investment — which means, smaller private unit, more common space, and a much 
different lifestyle.  Founder / developers of cohousing are often idealistic, 
and want to offer affordability for a diverse range of incomes, but this is not 
anywhere near “cheap”.

Overall, I think the Valencia story will put off some, and mislead others.  I’m 
not sorry the project is happening, and there is no need to refute it.  But I 
don’t think it’s much use to CohoUS.

Unless, of course, we want to go further than is customary for cohos in 
“trading and sharing space and resources”, as a means of living economically.  
This might be a good topic for this list.


> On Feb 16, 2015, at 5:48 AM, Alice Alexander <alicecohous [at]> 
> wrote:
> Please comment on this NPR story profiling cohousing in England and Spain:
> The online story has more depth than the audio I heard. Audio will be
> available online at 9:00 am eastern.
> Many thanks!
> -- 
> Alice Alexander
> Executive Director
> <>
> [image: The Cohousing Association]
> _________________________________________________________________
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