Re: Article: "Dorms for Grownups: A Solution for Lonely Millennials?"
From: Philip Dowds (
Date: Thu, 1 Sep 2016 12:06:15 -0700 (PDT)
The single family home, and the condominium within a professionally managed 
building, remain our two primary models for residential accommodation.  Of 
late, there is considerable — although not yet widely accepted — 
experimentation in variations that involve less privatized amenity and more 
shared common facility.  In the eldercare sub-market, retirement housing, 
assisted living and congregate care have advanced in sophistication; the floor 
plan shown in the Atlantic article might be dorm-like for the youthful, but 
would be understood as a variant of congregate care if serving seniors.

But I would have to argue that, no matter what the floor plan looks like, if 
the membership of the group, household participation in shared activities, and 
the common amenities are not managed ("governed") by the residents themselves, 
then it can't be cohousing.  It's just another form of either custodial care, 
or else high-income opportunity where one chooses to pay somebody else to sort 
things out and keep them running.  Cohousing is made by values and behavior, 
not by architecture.

Philip Dowds
Cornerstone Cohousing
Cambridge, MA

> On Sep 1, 2016, at 2:59 PM, Susan HEDGPETH <hedgpeth [at]> wrote:
> Check this out, in The Atlantic.  A concept I wholly support, great idea.
> If I weren't already happy in my cohousing community, I would want to live
> in one of these communities (if they'd accept a boomer ;) ).
> But hey, no mention of cohousing?  Yes there are differences:  rent rather
> than own, a "social engineer" who will oversee the community to "moderate
> disputes and kick out anyone who misbehaves" (I'll be interested to see how
> that works out).
> Maybe these young adults will be more successful at communal living; maybe
> they'll have an easier time because of all the work others have done, much
> of which has permeated the culture in general (eg, consensus
> decision-making, sharing circles, etc.)
> Someone want to write to the Atlantic to explain about cohousing?
> *Dorms for Grownups: A Solution for Lonely Millennials?*
> In a new model of living, residents will have their own “microunits” built
> around a shared living space for cooking, eating and hanging out.
> -Susan
> Pleasant Hill Cohousing
> Pleasant Hill, CA
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