Re: Is communal ownership obligatory for cohousing?
From: Diane Bassett (
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2007 08:09:38 -0700 (PDT)
This is an interesting topic (terminology) and I have another suggestion to
add to the pot.

Since the word "neighborhood" is so widely used in the general vernacular to
mean a geographic area, and doesn't necessarily imply cooperative sharing
activities, I think "intentional neighborhood" might not work as well with
the general public as something like "highly cooperative neighborhood" or
"sharing neighborhood".  I'm not familiar with the technicalities behind
shortening something to "coop neighborhood"-- I think that might again
connotate the wrong thing.  So personally, I'd lean toward "sharing
neighborhood" since it seems to capture the cultural spirit and is easy for
the general public to quickly understand.

If you haven't guessed, I'm especially interested in elements of communal
living that would be baby steps for the general public and make them want to
learn more about cohousing options-- or in ways to share resources and
increase the level of community in their life.  In other words, there are a
lot of people who long for a deeper level of community in their life, but
for whom merely sharing a house with roomates would be a big deal.  Sharing
a communal dining hall would be a big change for them (probably an excellent
starting point).  I believe it would be beneficial for this huge segment of
the population to inch forward to include more sharing in their lives.  So
as we consider coming up with names for things that we might not consider a
full cohousing configuration, I'm interested in keeping this audience of
folks in the general public who might be enticed to think about these topics
in mind.  In other words, let's try to make it easy for them to understand.

An observation before I go:  I just visited my parents who are in their
mid-70s and still relatively healthy and independent.  They just moved to a
retirement community that offers increasing levels of care.  They have their
own single family home but go to the restaurant-like dining room 25 times a
month for dinner (these meals are included in their fee).  They are
absolutely delighted with the arrangement, especially with how easy it is to
have folks to socialize with.  Any fears we kids had about their happiness
at this place vanished.  And I suspect that they would have loved this kind
of eating arrangement just as much in their 30's as well.  I know that I
wish I had it now.  So I'm on the lookout for ways to slowly and gently
integrate elements of "sharing" and especially communal eating into my life
and neighborhood.  Do I start with a supper club?  I'm not sure yet.  If you
have any ideas, do feel free to contact me.

Thank you
Diane Bassett
(recently moved to Palos Verdes, CA)

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