Re: "specialized" cohousing [was Cohousing for Senior Artists]
From: Roger Studley (
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2017 10:31:27 -0700 (PDT)
There is another side to this issue of *communities with a special focus*:
Some endeavors can work better in community. Art is one of these, where
living in community with other artists can support the creative process.
(Hence the existence of artist colonies.) Religion may be another.

In my particular case -- attempting to create cohousing in a Jewish context
-- it seems clear both (i) that a common foundation in Jewish life and
tradition can strengthen the cohesiveness and connection within a cohousing
community and (ii) that living together in cohousing can support the
experience and expression of Jewish life. It also seems to be the case
that, although our potential market is much smaller, there is a higher
degree of interest within this potential market: The idea of cohousing in a
Jewish context has resonated strongly with people who are interested in
being connected to Jewish life and tradition.

As for a couple of the specific issues raised:

1. Specialized markets are still just a fraction of the larger market. (And
in my case, the places where Jewish cohousing seems most viable are also
the highest cost markets in the U.S.) But that argues mostly that
specialized communities are likely to be the minority of communities, not
that there shouldn't or couldn't be any.

2. Insularity is a possibility. But it's only a possibility, and not
necessarily more so than for cohousers in general. (For example, Silver
Sage and Wild Sage in Boulder are across the street from one another, but
the two communities don't have much interaction.) The key seems to be the
community's vision and how it is executed. In the case of Berkeley Moshav,
we explicitly want to engage with our neighbors, both to extend the
benefits of community in general (e.g., community movie nights in our
common house) and to be "ambassadors" of Jewish values and tradition (in
the sense of learning from others and making ourselves familiar to them,
not  in the sense of proselytizing). We are also interested in working on
some social action projects together. And before it comes up, I want to add
that there is no requirement that someone "be Jewish". (For one thing, we
don't even know how to define that.) We welcome anyone interested to live
in a community where Jewish life will be a main focus of community life.

Moreover, I'm a little surprised at the degree of sentiment against the
idea of specialized communities. There didn't used to be senior cohousing,
and now there is. Maybe themes or specialization will work in other
contexts too, and maybe it won't. I think the only way to find out is to

In community,

*Roger Studley*
*510-604-2607 <510-604-2607>*
*roger [at] <Roger%20Studley%20%3Croger [at]>*

On Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 9:07 AM, Sharon Villines <sharon [at]>

> > On Mar 16, 2017, at 9:03 AM, Eris Weaver <eris [at]> wrote:
> >
> > Yes, there are intentional communities out there with a particular
> religious, artistic, whatever focus; but most of them don't seem to use the
> cohousing model and they seem to be smaller in size.
> I agree. The other thing that happens when people are supposed to be
> “alike” in some way is the the definition of the “some way” becomes more
> articulated and exclusionary. "That person is not really an artist," or
> "that person isn’t a real lawyer." Can you imagine a cohousing community of
> lawyers and para-legals? Even lawyers and para-legals whose partners are
> artists?
> I used to teach in a college program where students studied independently.
> They never met a group unless taking the same class somewhere else. I tried
> to have a meeting of all my ceramic artists hoping to start a support
> group. They were all so disdainful of the other person’s kind of ceramics,
> they barely spoke.
> From the outside people seem to have shared interests that they don’t
> really have.
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines, Washington DC
> "The truth is more important than the facts." Frank Lloyd Wright
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