Re: co-op house within cohousing community
From: Beverly Jones Redekop (
Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2017 14:01:44 -0700 (PDT)
The quad co-op manages its own conflicts -- sometimes it spills over into
community decisions, such as the levy.

I think communities should definitely consider small affordable units, but
I think it's best to make these individual units (vs. a block) and to
really think through how these bachelor apartments could be more in the
community vs. less in the community.

This diverse group seems to be working well, so maybe it just needed seven
years to work out the kinks...!

We have loads of single people in the smallest individual units (2
bedroom/1000 s.f.), and people seem to socialize as individuals whether
they are couples or not, but my perspective is that of a 40-something
married mother of three, so perhaps widowed or single neighbours would view
it differently.

On Sun, 23 Jul 2017 at 08:46 Sharon Villines <sharon [at]>

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