Re: Design Process & Cohousing Community
From: Ncaidin (
Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2000 15:36:34 -0700 (MST)

At the time I joined Eno Commons, the Site plan was complete and the house 
designs were 80-90% done.  The members and a developer/member taught me  how 
the site plan was designed to encourage planned and spontaneous community 
interaction. The houses were designed to be healthy homes with passive solar 
and geothermal heat pumps for energy effeciency. By restricting the number of 
plans to two (with one variation for each plan for a total of 4 
configurations) we hoped to keep costs down on construction.

That sold me, and even though I had opportunities to have input into the 
final 10-20% of the designs, I left it to others in the community. Letting go 
and trusting others is another way to build community.

My point is that I don't believe there is a formula for building community. 
Communities build because people want to build community and to build 

As a tangential issue, I would like to see the development of a Cohousing 
model that is more of a repeatable process and doesn't require 1-2 burning 
souls and several hotplate souls (i.e. less than burning but still intensely 
committed) for a group to succeed. I don't know what this model is, but I bet 
if one took the lessons learned for all the groups that have succeeded and 
failed one would have a great starting point.

In Community,
Neal Caidin
Eno Commons Cohousing
Durham, NC


In a message dated 2/12/00 4:13:53 PM, sharonvillines [at] writes:

<<Two thoughts questions:

1. Unless someone is able to design and build a model house or apartment
before units are sold, separating the design process from the recruiting of
households and building of a community is a moot question, because you can't
expect people to sign on without either being assured that they will have a
significant input to the design, or seeing a model.

If there were a model available with all the options clear, then people
would probably go about joining the community the same way they do now--ask
a few questions, attend a few meetings, and jump in.

2. Why is the design process considered different from building community?
How do you build community except around mutual needs? If designing the
living spaces together is not done as a part of building community what is?
Not that designing the units together is a necessary or even desirable part
of the process, but to infer (as is constantly done) that it's value as a
community building activity is lesser than a party or a personal sharing
session seems odd. More controllable and less threatening?

Sharon Villines, Butler
The MacGuffin Guide to Mystery Fiction
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington, DC>>

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