Re: 12 Unit Cohousing - Too Small?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sun, 20 Sep 2020 09:40:45 -0700 (PDT)
I think the two points Phillip mentions are two standouts:

1. Human Capital — Adequate skill mix, accounting skills, carpentry skills; at 
least one with formal facilitation training, a person who likes to decorate and 
create parties, likes to cook, etc.

2. Stability of social dynamics. "A larger community could have many more 
neutral households helping to maintain social ballast in rough waters.” But on 
the other hand, there will be comparatively more rough waters in a larger 

The concern I’ve seen expressed is that 12 can feel like a fishbowl and 50 can 
feel like a big city.

Our population with 43 units of a variety of sizes has remained steady at about 
60 adults and up to 20 children. Large units can have 1 person and small units 
3. Unit size doesn’t seem to be a big predictor.

Personally, I would like fewer than 43 units but would feel claustrophobic in 
12. With the same rate of occupancy, 12 units would be about 18 adults and 6-8 

For me, the community felt “too big” when several of our relatively uninvolved 
households moved out and much more involved people moved in. There were more 
people weighing in on issues and attending functions. But I also felt more 
secure because they took more responsibility for chores and emergency actions.

When the first batch of children grew from babies and toddlers to 9-12 year 
olds it seemed like they doubled in numbers.

A lot of stuff makes a difference. Things change.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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