Re: Apartment Sharing Developer attempts to co-opt cohousing, (Jenny Guy)
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2017 07:52:46 -0800 (PST)
On Dec 18, 2017, at 7:26 AM, William C. Wood <woodwc [at]> wrote:
> But as for what really works -- I'd like to gently suggest that for many 
> people, democratic self-management is a drawback, not an advantage. They do 
> not like the idea of lots of meetings or the politicization of neighborhood 
> issues. So, how can people live more in community? A number of different 
> models are being tried -- "let ten thousand flowers bloom." We can all learn 
> from the successes and the failures, including the success or failure of 
> developments that include common facilities but no democratic self-management.

I agree and would like to connect this to architecture. I have friends who are 
gay partners, male. They and many of their friends would be uncomfortable in 
the close quarters of an attached dwelling community. They want walls around 
themselves and privacy for their friends. They moved into a housing development 
where the homes are fairly close together in the front but open onto a woodsy 
area in back. Parties in the back are free of observation. They are in their 
70’s so it’s been a long life of being at least sort of in the closet. Though 
they are open about being a gay couple, they are also professional men who move 
in a conservative corporate society and don’t present themselves in a way that 
would make anyone uncomfortable. They are very active in their community 
association and one has been elected to the board — in a community where the 
board runs things. They feel accepted but are also comfortable with the norms 
of a suburban, relatively wealthy lifestyle. After vowing to downsize they 
purchased a 5-bedroom house with more rooms on the first floor than I can count.

When the moved to the area, I suggested they move to Takoma Village, the 
response from both was "I don’t want to live anywhere where people have 
anything to say about how I live.” 

I do think it is helpful, however, to make distinctions between how each kind 
of housing operates. Naming them is the easiest way to do that.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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