Re: co-op house within cohousing community
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2017 08:46:13 -0700 (PDT)
> On Jul 21, 2017, at 2:59 PM, Beverly Jones Redekop <beverly.jones.redekop 
> [at]> wrote:
> Still, the co-op house uses up a good deal of the residents' bandwidth for
> cooperation and community. I think cohousing should provide the shared
> element to make people in suites more involved in the community rather than
> less.

I wonder if it would be better to think of them as “efficiency units” instead 
of a quad. The residents seem to be viewed as a block, rather than individual 
members. Maybe each suite should have a name so people could say, "I’m Rob. I 
live in Sundown —Crystal moved out last week. I think Nick was there before 
that. I’m also a friend of Bill's in #201."

I don’t think you responded to the question about financial structure and who 
makes decisions. Who resolves conflicts?

What is the composition of the non-quad units? Singles or couples? Not all 
couples and singles mix well. Some couples are joined at the hip a single has 
to relate to both or none, and others are two individuals so a single can 
relate to either or both, or both individually. And some couples only socialize 
with other couples.

> In our community, some people use the common house laundry and some people
> have private machines. Sharing puts people more into the community instead
> of less. If the shared laundry was for certain people in a separate
> building that they had to manage among themselves separately from the whole
> community, it would be more like a quad situation where it pulls them from
> the community.

This is a good example. Having facilities in the CH don’t seem to create as 
many interactions as they are hyped to do, but having a separate building 
certainly would be a division of many kinds.

We have groups of people who use one or the other facility that others don’t 
use, but there is no money involved and anyone else can use those facilities if 
they wish to. Money doesn’t define any relationships in the community.

> The 300-800 s.f. suites with bedroom, sitting area, and bathroom could be a
> floor in the common house, either with private bachelor-suite kitchenettes
> in their suites or with a shared kitchen for suites on that floor.

Our one bedrooms with a den are ~625 SF so 800 SF is pretty big for a suite. 
That would be one area of difficulty—lack of similarity.

We’ve had problems with long term guests or renters using the CH kitchen on a 
long term basis. In addition to some not cleaning to our common house 
standards, which I hear are fairly high, they also “move in.” Their own habits 
and their need for ongoing storage begin to feel like homesteading. 

So kitchenettes would probably be the best idea. If people really love cooking, 
they will probably want their own unit anyway.

> Interestingly, our newly settled-feeling quad has one single 20-something
> woman, one 30&40 something heterosexual couple, a single 50-something man,
> and a 40-something single father of twin boys.

That’s a lot of people and a lot of diversity. “Quad” is heard as “4” or the 
whole center green of a college campus. This is 5 adults and 2 children in an 
average to large size house. Adults take up more brain space than 2 parents and 
5 children.

 We don’t have any households with that many people in them, much less 
unrelated people.

We have 7 adults in the 6 units of 625-825 SF.

I think in DC and SF, there would be more people in one demographic so personal 
habits would probably be the main conflict. You have a broad age range, 
life-style differences, gender mix, plus personality and personal habits. That 
in and of itself will take bandwidth for everyone.

I finally figured out why the fast food places and restaurants in DC hire all 
one ethnic group or another. No matter what the ethnic group of the owners or 
managers, the whole staff will be of one ethnic group — Hispanic, or Nigerian, 
or Jamaican, etc. It works because they (1) all get along better because they 
share cultural norms, and (2) can recommend friends who fit in quickly when a 
new worker is needed.

A long way around to saying there may be some conceptual issues that are caused 
by how people verbally identify the building and the people in it.

Sharon Villines
“There can be too much truth in any relationship.” — Violet, Dowager Countess 
of Grantham

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