Re: Apartment Sharing Developer attempts to co-opt cohousing
From: Fred H Olson (
Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2017 07:16:47 -0800 (PST)
Reede Stockton wrote:

> There is one key element for me that needs to be added to your core
> concept of private home, common house and some meals, and that is
> democratic self-management.

William C. Wood ( wrote:
>To clarify, there are two important issues in this discussion:
>1. What should qualify for the label "cohousing"?
>2. What really works? (to help people live with the greater sense of
>community they may seek)
>And on question 1, I agree that democratic self-management should be
>part of the definition of "cohousing."
>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.
>William C. Wood
>Director, Simplicity House

Thanks for pointing out the two aspects of the discussion.
I also agree democratic self-management is a defining characteristic of

Interesting "drawback" comment William, in that for many of us
"democratic self-management" seems so intrinsic for many of us
cohousing enthusiasts. It clearly works for some people - with about
160 functioning communites in the US.

But I can see your point that some people prefer to let someone else
make decisions.  I might even concede that more people in the universe
of the US population might prefer the latter and therefore the
democratic self-management feature of cohousing might be a limiting
factor on spreading the development of cohousing.

This may be feature analogous to "senior only" (as I call it)
vs multigenerational cohousing. Some seniors prefer senior only
and some prefer having kids and younger people around.
Some people prefer democratic self-management and some do not.
And there is room for both.

And of course there can be degrees of democratic self-management.
I'm sure there are people who prefer to leave "management" to other
residents and simply dont get involved much in "management" aspects
of the community.  And given the long term nature of most people's
membership people can be more or less involved in different phases
of their life.

One of my favorite communities (tho not because of it) has a unique
age related feature.  It is for people over the age of 40 - that is
no children in residence (tho lots of grand children visit).

I suggest that residential communities that resemble cohousing in
some respects but not others could be described as "cohousing-like".


Bassett Creek Cohousing, Minneapolis
Fred H. Olson  Minneapolis,MN 55411  USA        (near north Mpls)
     Email:        fholson at      612-588-9532
My Link Pg:

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