Re: Feedback requested: Accommodations for disabilities
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sun, 12 Jul 2020 12:00:35 -0700 (PDT)
>  there are many other disabilities that make belonging to a cohousing 
> community both more difficult and more important to people.

One that we discovered was more widespread than we realized is hearing in 
meetings. While some of us (me) complained that people weren’t speaking loud 
enough to be heard across the room, when we started using Zoom for meetings 
even more people mentioned the how nice it was to be able to hear everyone. One 
person said he didn’t attend meetings because he can’t hear anyone.

On Zoom, the only time anyone couldn't hear was when someone forgot to speak 
toward their microphone. (I think they were tying their shoe.)

We also have more people in meetings on Zoom and they tend to stay for the 
whole meeting or tell everyone in the chat that they have to leave. They don’t 
slink off and hope no one will notice. And they don’t have to go home to feed 
the dog, check on their older children, hire child care for the younger, or 
watch for an important email.

I find the meetings to be more efficient on Zoom. More structured and 
organized, fewer distractions (when the facilitator’s computer works). I don’t 
think they are good for discussions on topics with an uncertain resolution or 
conflicting feelings. But those meetings can be smaller and involve the most 
interested so the group is smaller. The meeting can be held in a smaller room 
where everyone can hear.

Another issue in planning — the biggest room needs to be acoustically 
brilliant. Ours has a 2 story ceiling height and lots of nooks and crannies (as 
in not square). Single voices don’t carry but it is always loud! Like too many 
restaurants, except that we need to hear that voice around the corner.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

(You can see I’m putting off doing my taxes today by writing too much.)

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