Re: Underpaid inputs (was Re: building industry)
From: Paul miller (
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2016 10:07:58 -0700 (PDT)
I cannot speak for other areas, but new Cohousing projects in the Bay Area are 
costly because of the high cost of land, City fees and other government impact 
fees. This may limit participants to older residents who own homes with 
significant equity.

Paul Miller

> On Jun 22, 2016, at 7:14 AM, Sharon Villines <sharon [at]> 
> wrote:
>> On Jun 22, 2016, at 9:49 AM, William C. Wood <woodwc [at]> wrote:
>> And that made me wonder -- are there critical underpaid inputs in cohousing? 
>> [There seem to be many thriving communities, and many potential future 
>> residents of cohousing who can't currently find or create a community. Is 
>> the explanation simply that "development and management" is an underpaid 
>> input in cohousing?]
> I think your examples of "underpaid input” and the example of the store that 
> fails or can’t expand because the labor is not appropriately compensated is 
> very good and helpful.
> But it is very hard to determine compensation in cohousing. How is work 
> measured? Cohousing is built on human capital. A community grows on the 
> strength of its members. Not just hourly labor but skills and connections. 
> There is no money exchanged. How do you pay the person who plays the piano 
> and leads singing after meals? This would be a vital part of  community life 
> with many benefits. As a paid position it wouldn’t exist at all and if it 
> did, would change the character of the event.
> I often say we should hire out those things that can be hired out — the 
> cleaning — and spend more time on the things that can’t == discussion groups, 
> meals, governance, etc. But people like the cleaning and maintenance tasks. 
> They like working together and it is a break from daily work at desks and 
> computers.
> Perhaps we should be clearer about recognizing contributions. Like TimeBanks 
> which record work on an hour per hour basis. All work is compensated equally 
> — with an hour from someone else.
> For the most part, I think the professionals are compensated to the degree 
> that the market supports the ability to compensate. Cohousing isn’t the same 
> as developing a conventional housing. You can’t build it and then charge 
> market rate and expect people to pay for it. It’s built on a different 
> premise with different risks.
>> [I've long been curious about the idea that consumers are not well served by 
>> existing housing patterns, even though they're getting "what they want" 
>> See
>>   , about halfway down, concerning "expenditure cascades."]
>> Sorry for the wonkishness, so just to get back: Thanks again, Eris, for your 
>> excellent post
> I haven’t had time to look at the article but will. The wonky language is 
> very helpful when it gives clarifying names to phenomenon that we all know 
> but haven’t clearly identified.
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines
> Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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