Re: Question about accepted norms in the common space
From: Dick Margulis (
Date: Thu, 22 Oct 2020 07:29:06 -0700 (PDT)
An additional factor is that in a population of older adults, many people will be somewhat hearing impaired and will also have a diminished sense of smell. (This is in addition to the psychological fact of accommodation that reduces our awareness of the familiar smells of our own households relative to visitors' awareness of them, which affects people of all ages.)

So it may just be that people don't realize how loud their tv is, or their phone voice, or their conversational voice, nor how garlicky their food really is. Maybe all that's needed is a polite reminder and a request to close the door.

On 10/22/2020 9:49 AM, Sharon Villines via Cohousing-L wrote:
We had a person who was very allergic to perfumes, chemicals, etc. plus flowers 
and pollen. We became very sensitive to this so in general we are careful of 
these things. And we would be reminded if we forgot.

Our design means odors wouldn’t go into the CH if people opened their doors; they just dissipate 
outdoors. And noise is supposed to stay within one’s unit — people are good about turning things 
down. And others are good at reminding them. Many people are totally unaware of the loudness of their own 
talking or music. Or unaware that it is intruding on others. You have to speak up. “You seem to be 
playing music in my bedroom."

I would suggest that you have a design problem also. Do your units have exhaust 
fans that take odors in the other direction? They may be pulled into the common 
space by air currents.

Explaining the canyon effect to people can help too. We can understand 
conversations 3 floors down in the piazza for the same reason. And our wings 
are much farther apart. The people on the first floor had no clue.

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