Re: is this the cure for the loneliness of American motherhood: opinion piece in NYT
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2021 08:38:45 -0700 (PDT)
> On Oct 23, 2021, at 5:58 PM, Muriel Kranowski <murielk [at]> wrote:
> I read a number of the top comments (NYTimes Picks and Most Liked) and was
> sad to see so many negative ones. I don't know that this is really great
> publicity for cohousing, although the article was very positive.

It would have been nice to get into the comments before they were closed to 
counter some of those but all the newspapers seem to be closing down comments 
much sooner than they used to.

The one string of comments I wanted to counter that the author started was the 
criticism of cities. I think one reason there is no cohousing, per se, in the 
gigantic NYC area is that there is compulsory cohousing at all levels. Small 
towns can be just as isolating as cities — but cities also have much more 
opportunities for interaction. Many more people share apartments, for example. 
And all those large buildings are not so isolating as some find them. 
Communities and relationships do form. Not as quickly as moving into a 
cohousing community but in the same ways. Bumping into people in the hallways 
and elevators, etc. Over time incidental conversations grow. But there is so 
much interaction and just plain busy-ness, people also protect their quiet 

A friend who had lived in the city most of her life found it exhausting to 
visit. Without her quiet place to retreat to, it was overwhelming. While some 
people say it’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there, those 
who have lived there often think it is a crazy place to visit and wish they 
could afford to live there. The NYTimes did a series of articles a number of 
years ago on NYC as the ideal retirement community — everything is walkable, 
there is the best of everything along with the least expensive of everything, 
anything can be delivered, the best medical care, etc. 

Jane Jacob’s legendary descriptions of what make the West Village so special is 
what makes cohousing so special. I’ve been reading urban planning stuff 
recently and thinking about “cohousing” on a larger neighborhood scale. How do 
we apply (enforce) the same principles beyond our borders — cars are not 
central, pedestrians have the right of way, people share meals in flexible 
groups, food pops up in unexpected places (pumpkin cookies on the counter, 
apples in the piazza, making pesto sauce next Saturday if you want to order 1-2 
cups), etc. 

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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