Re: Anxiety, Community Development and the Role of Design
From: Berrins (
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 20:27:48 -0700 (MST)
In a message dated 2/15/2000 11:10:44 AM, maggi [at] writes:

<< But several people have mentioned that, once they were finished with the
development process, they actually moved into a different unit than the
one they had originally chosen.  Or, they moved to another unit some years
down the road.  What value do your customizations have then?  Are they
really worth the extra expense?

-Maggi >>

Yes, several people may have moved in another unit.  Several people may been 
divorced or had more children or moved to another city for a new job.  So why 

First, how many people actually move?  In the five years that Pioneer (32 
units) has been open, only five units have changed hands.  Three of those 
units went to folks who already lived there and one to a child who came back 
and got her own place.  Maybe that's unusual, but even if half of the people 
had moved, that's still half that are still living in the houses they 
designed.  And even if twenty years down the road only 10% of cohousing folks 
are living in the house they designed, that house is still something special 
to them.

Second, IMHO, houses that have been customized have more character than 
cookie cutter houses.  When the walls are in a different configuration, when 
the window and door placements aren't the same, you get a look, a feel for 
the space that is different than just having different furniture.  The space 
would feel more like a non-descript condo or apartment development if all the 
units were built the same.  Could I live with that?  Sure.  It's still 
cohousing.  But I'd rather have the character that customization provides.


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