Re: Apartment Sharing Developer attempts to co-opt cohousing
From: Jenny Guy (
Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2017 09:52:33 -0800 (PST)
In marketing my community I constantly (and I mean constantly) encounter
people who think Cohousing means any kind of shared housing or community.
Because after all, 'co' just means together. So they're not wrong when they
say "I lived in co-housing, it was a house with 3 roommates". I explain it
by saying "Cohousing with a capital 'C' means...".

I wish we had a more distinct name, but it's too late for that, so I guess
we'll just have to keep explaining. We also could use better ways to
describe other kinds of communities. We seem to be quite impoverished in
our language for describing community.

I don't think that trying to hold onto a definition of cohousing means that
we're inflexible about it, but I do like having a core concept, and for me
at its most basic it's a community where you have your own private home and
there's a common house, and some meals. There is a retrofit cohousing
community in my town with decidedly un-cohousing orientation, but no one
has objected to calling it cohousing. It has separate apartments and a
common house and is member managed. So I don't think anyone is being rigid
about it, just trying to keep some kind of distinction for the sake of

Of course different people will prioritize different aspects, and I notice
the definition on doesn't mention common facilities or meals,
so maybe we are each feeling a different part of the elephant. If Cohousing
doesn't have to include a common house or even one meal a month, maybe it
is all up for grabs after all.

Kingfisher Cohousing, Oakland Calif.

On Thu, Dec 7, 2017 at 7:57 AM, Philip Dowds <rphilipdowds [at]> wrote:

> Coho/US Friends —
> This definition of cohousing seems more architectonic than it should be.
> For me, it raises some questions (see below):
> > On Dec 6, 2017, at 5:09 PM, Lindy Sexton <lindy.sexton [at]>
> wrote:
> >
> > 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.

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