Re: Apartment Sharing Developer attempts to co-opt cohousing
From: Lindy Sexton (
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2017 14:10:16 -0800 (PST)
Charles Durrett recently sent emails to Carmel Partners, the developers of
the Wellington Apartment Project in Denver, CO, to stop using term
"cohousing" to describe their project because it is not cohousing. He has
created a list of criteria, currently specific to senior cohousing, but
which gives the basic criteria that a cohousing community needs to have to
be called cohousing. The criteria include:

1.     Co-developed, co-designed, and co-organized with the group.  First
and foremost the future residents are an integral part of creating the
future community.

2.     A private home but also extensive common facilities that supplement
and facilitate the daily living. Common facilities are perceived as an
extension of each resident’s house and supplement each home. *There must be
practical excuses to bring people together – otherwise they are just “back
at the house.” *Common meals at least once a week. *There is no more
timeless means of sustaining community than breaking bread together*.

Designed to facilitate aging in place with:

a.     Good acoustics for all ages

b.     Ample lighting for all ages

c.     Ergonomic details

d.     Universal Design principles (but stairs are OK)

e.     Co-care, mutual support systems, and interdependence during illness
or convalescence through community, and cooperation.

3.     Designed to facilitate naturally-oriented community interactions
over time.   *Not auto-oriented, but every electric wheelchair, Segway or
other personal vehicle necessary to keep the site auto-free except on rare

4.     Completely resident managed. The residents *–* who are the owners of
their own homes *–* in a cohousing community have the privilege and
responsibility of determining how they will organize themselves and the
work (and play) of managing their own lives and homes.

5.     No hierarchy in decision-making. Cohousing is about cooperation
rather than type of ownership. And, as it turns out, cooperation transcends
ownership type.

6.     No shared economy. Unlike that of the commune or sometimes a co-op
structure, cohousing community members do not share personal income.

In order for cohousing to continue to be an effective housing model, the
criteria must be upheld. Especially the point that future residents are
involved in the design, development, and organization process. This is one
of the most important pieces of cohousing because it represents the future
of that project (if a group knows how to work together through the process,
they will work well as neighbors.) Without this list of criteria, a project
doesn’t have the backbone needed to sustain the community for generations
to come. It doesn’t mean that they’ll fail, but they probably won’t be as
effective as a community.

To learn more about the criteria, visit Also MDA
wrote a blog earlier this year on the meaning of cohousing. Please check it
out here:

Chuck encourages everyone who cares about cohousing to actively reach out
to developers and organizations like Carmel Partners, sharing with them the
definition of cohousing. Working together, we can create a network of
checks and balances that ensures that the integrity of cohousing stands.


Lindy Sexton
Culture Worker
Outreach and Marketing Coordinator

McCamant & Durrett Architects
The Cohousing Company <>
Tel: 530.265.9980  Fax: 530.265.4398

241 B Commercial Street
Nevada City, CA 95959

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