Re: Themed, affinity, or specialty cohousing
From: Roger Studley (
Date: Tue, 4 Apr 2017 20:33:51 -0700 (PDT)
Sharon, no one is talking about a litmus test or a theocracy. We are
talking about groups of people who have something in common, want to
nurture and enjoy this commonality, and feel that they can do so better in
community. People can be more or less invested in that over time, just like
they can be more or less invested in any cohousing community over time.
What happens if someone loses interest? Nothing happens. They keep living
in the community as long as they want to. But the community as a whole
still maintains its focus. (And if the community ultimately loses its
focus, that's fine too.)

I would also point out that historically, in many neighborhoods, folks DID
have something in common: They were immigrants from the same country,
members of the same church, workers in a particular trade or industry, etc.
This commonality made them more tight-knit, more of community.

But I'm not interested in continuing to debate or defend this idea. For
better or worse, Berkeley Moshav plans to try it, and we would grateful to
learn if it has been tried elsewhere and what the experience has been.

In community,

On Tue, Apr 4, 2017 at 7:54 PM, Sharon Villines <sharon [at]>

> > On Apr 4, 2017, at 10:17 PM, Roger Studley <roger [at]>
> wrote:
> >
> >  Temescal Commons in Oakland was started by a group associated with a
> Methodist church. My understanding is that there was originally a desire
> for residents to be part of both the church and
> > cohousing communities, but that the church component is no longer really
> an
> > aspect of community life. Is that correct?
> This is a central question about a community with a requirement that
> residents commit at some level to a practice or belief.  What happens when
> a someone stops believing or practicing? Do they have to leave? People
> change so much over time. Making a lifetime commitment to something when
> one knows little of what is to come, may not be the best idea.
> There are many intentional and religious communities with a focus are
> successful. The “intentional” means a commitment to a philosophy or ideal.
> These communities work to varying degrees, some are highly successful. But
> when there is an ideal that is “above” the freedom and equality of each
> individual, it is a theocracy, not a democracy. Decisions are made in
> relation to an ideal.
> Cohousing has worked to avoid this. It has strived to be a ‘normal’
> diverse neighborhood with residents who may share similar backgrounds
> (Irish Catholic, for example) but they are not required or expected to.
> (It’s questionable however if anyone ever becomes non-Irish or
> non-Catholic.)
> This doesn’t answer your question, obviously, but it does define the
> difference between traditional intentional and religious communities and
> cohousing, which more often describes itself as a neighborhood. There is no
> litmus test.
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines, Washington DC
> Save Our Planet. It's the only one with chocolate.
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