Re: Question about accepted norms in the common space
From: Abe Ross (
Date: Thu, 22 Oct 2020 10:39:05 -0700 (PDT)
How do you distinguish between allergies (needs) and preferences (wants)?

Abe Ross
Treehouse Village Ecohousing
Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

OK to colour outside the lines occasionally but when you do it consistently you 
are just sloppy.

On 10/22/2020 2:33 PM, Elizabeth Magill wrote:
We have a noise agreement developed many
years after move-in but it is only about morning, evening, and construction.

And a fragrance agreement that was
made before move-in because we have many people allergic to such things.

We also chose a gas fireplace to account for the fact that someone (me) is
allergic to firewood.

But in terms of creating a culture of caring about such things I have to
agree with those who have said--you have to ask individuals to stop what
they are doing. They don't know they are bothering you unless you tell them.

Liz Magill
Mosaic Commons Cohousing in Berlin, MA

On Thu, Oct 22, 2020 at 10:29 AM Dick Margulis <dick [at]> wrote:

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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