Re: Cohousing's Diversity Problem - CityLab
From: Gerald Manata (
Date: Thu, 17 Aug 2017 09:57:49 -0700 (PDT)
     The worst case of diversity problems that I have witnessed in cohousing is 
along the lines of cultural and subcultural differences. Added to that is good 
old American individualism and you have situations that can get quite ugly and 
vicious. Consensus democracy is extremely difficult under such 
circumstances.The U.S. is not Denmark. You can't just borrow a system from one 
culture and add it to another without expecting difficulties.Perhaps this 
explains the large turnover in cohousing and the lack of interest in cohousing 
among its offspring.
     In a effort to recruit members and sell units, organizers are neglecting 
some kind of necessary, serious and lengthy vetting process. Conservative, 
bourgeois American types should live in one cohousing complex, for example, 
more countercultural, communitarian types should live in another, etc. You 
can't get along with your neighbors and practice consensus democracy if you 
aren't all on the same page.  --------------------------------------------
On Mon, 8/14/17, Tom Smyth <tom [at]> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Cohousing's Diversity Problem - CityLab
 To: cohousing-l [at]
 Date: Monday, August 14, 2017, 7:22 PM
 It isn’t an argument about
 whether it is a thing, but it isn’t the only
 thing. Diversity doesn’t equal skin color.
 And skin color doesn’t equal
 I agree. And
 racial diversity need not be the only kind we seek. Age
 diversity is also a great thing, for
 I guess my
 contention is that diversity along any axis of oppression
 important because living amongst people
 from traditionally oppressed groups
 perhaps more importantly *getting ourselves to the place
 where they
 might want to live amongst us*)
 makes us, as privileged people, less likely
 to oppress them.
 On the other hand, I'm less interested in
 diversity along axes that don't
 with oppressions, like favorite color, zodiac sign,
 conservative vs.
 liberal, etc.
 So it is not magic that
 I'm talking about. It's oppression. Certainly you
 get lots of cultural bonuses if you achieve
 racial, age, income, etc.
 diversity, but
 those are not the main driver for me. I hope that helps
 clarify my position and, I think, that of a lot
 of people who value
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