Re: Disallusioned with cohousing
From: Martin Sheehy (
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2006 07:27:15 -0700 (PDT)
Nice, succinct statement of many of my concerns.

Sharon Villines <sharon [at]> wrote:
  On Jun 27, 2006, at 4:08 AM, Fred H Olson wrote:
> I guess the comments stem
> from my own appreciation that my expectations of people to be 
> "reasonable"
> first and foremost is itself not a "reasonable" expectation. Delicious
> irony, perhaps. My new reluctance to dive into cohousing would stem
> largely from a reluctance to dive into a situation where there is a 
> whole
> swirl of human emotions from a great variety of people, up close and
> personal, and my own discomfort with dealing with the both the good and
> bad sides of this. This may be exactly what appeals to a different 
> person.

I think Chris is making good points and I certainly agree with his 
concerns. Cohousing is an oxymoron. We want the accepting intimacy of 
intentional communities and the privacy of a single family free-range 
home and the diversity of a multi-cultural world.

We want the come-all no-barriers admissions policy to produce a 
homogeneous community that comes to consensus on all issues in two 
meetings (or less).

We want to maintain what is, in our case, at least a $21 million real 
estate project with 43 homes in 4 hours a week but that 4 hours also 
includes all meetings, all meals, and anything else that might be in 
the best interests of the community, in anyone's opinion. Everyone 
decides what work is. And when they decide, they can also decide that 
its optional and certainly excludes anyone who has birthed or adopted a 
child or has health challenges of any kind or is just busy or 

We want new parents (biological and adopted) to be able to take at 
least a year off from all community obligations and we want as many 
children as possible.

We want aging in place (senior cohousing anyone?) and who is going to 
care for them? Not parents. Not other aging in placers. Not people 
working and going to school at night. Not people who have their own 
aging parents far away so they have to travel frequently. Not those in 
their tween years who want to take month long excursions around the 
world at least twice a year because this is their chance.

And we want to resolve all these contradictions in no more than one 
two-hour meeting a month -- no meetings in December or August, thank 
you very much. That's 20 hours _ a year_. And since these two hour 
meetings include 5-10 minute breaks and announcements -- you do the 

Anyone who thinks cohousing is an easier way to live is asleep at the 

But I also can't imagine living any other way now that I live in 
cohousing. Would I move in if I were looking from outside, probably 

I just remind myself?often?that just like there are no perfect men, no 
perfect jobs, no perfect apartments, there are no perfect communities.

But maybe I just need the 24-hour struggle to find a way to make it 

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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