Re: Do cohousers care about "bricks and sticks"?
From: Howard Landman (
Date: Wed, 20 Nov 2002 12:13:04 -0700 (MST)
Elizabeth Stevenson said:
>> the BRICKS AND STICKS of the community ...
>> Who really cares about that stuff? -- 

Racheli wrote:
> I care about "bricks and sticks",and so do many cohousers.  In fact,
> anyone who cares about environmental issues should.

I have to say that I agree with Racheli.  I care passionately about
the physical environment of cohousing, although perhaps with a different
emphasis.  I believe that the design of the community can have an immense
impact on the day-to-day functioning of it.  Even something as simple as
having the common house in the middle versus on one end can make a huge

I completely redesigned the main floor of my unit because I thought
that the consensed-on floorplan had serious problems.  I'm happy with
the results, but some of my neighbors are now a little unhappy that
theirs were done the other way.  For example, my living room is a full
3 feet wider than the original floorplan, *without* taking away much of
anything of value (basically I straightened out a bent staircase).

Good architecture is like poetry, with multiple meanings and uses
packed in to a single feature, and everything resonating in harmony.
Bad architecture is like bad poetry, full of clunkers and incoherencies
and things that make you wonder why anyone would ever have chosen to do
that.  And you have to live with it every day.  A single misplaced
light switch can be an ongoing source of frustration for years.

If the physical design is meaningless, try taking a standard suburban
neighborhood and making cohousing there.  (I know, it's been done, but
it can be so much better if designed well from the beginning with
cohousing in mind.)

In any coho group you're going to have some people who care a lot
about some particular aspect, and others who care about other things.
This is good and healthy.  It means there will be people to work on
the landscaping and people to wire up the computer network, people
to garden and people to make drapes, people to stock the CH kitchen
and people to do the accounting.  You need all of these.  I think
a community has to have some aspects of "similarity and agreement",
but also some aspects of "difference and organic interdependence".
It's OK if some people think the "bricks and sticks" are meaningless,
as long as there are others who know otherwise.  We don't all have to
do everything (thank goodness!).

        Howard A. Landman
        River Rock Commons
        Fort Collins CO

P.S. A *third* cohousing group is just starting to form in Ft. Collins!
     I'll post info sometime soon.
Cohousing-L mailing list
Cohousing-L [at]  Unsubscribe  and other info:

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.