Re: Alexandria VA wants to group cohousing with Boarding houses - please speak up
From: Ann Zabaldo (
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2021 17:44:04 -0700 (PDT)
Hello all —

The City of Alexandria’s Planning department’s community presentation on their 
initiative to create more affordable housing was held tonight 4/20/21.  Right 
out of the gate, Alexa, the urban planner in charge of this project, announced 
due to feedback they had received they are dropping the use of “cohousing” as a 
description for their affordability project.


Thank you to everyone who responded to the City about this misuse of cohousing 
to describe boarding houses, WeLive spaces, and other models of shared living 
spaces.  Thank you to Chris Roth, Becca Bracket, Chuck Durrett, CohoUS, Jack 
Wilbern, Charley Juris, the Mid Atlantic Cohousing (MAC) team — we were there 
in force tonight! - and everyone else who helped in this decision.  I apologize 
that I have not met all of you and, hence, cannot name you here.  Let’s meet!  
You have my phone number and my email address.

Thank you, ALL!

Now, we just got to get cohousing started in Alexandria ...


PS —I trimmed the thread — you can get the entire thread in the Cohousing-L 
archives.  See bottom of any Cohousing-L email.  Like this one, for instance.

Best —

Ann Zabaldo

Takoma Village Cohousing
Washington, DC
Ex. Dir. & Mbr. Board of Directors
Mid Atlantic Cohousing
midatlantic [at]
Principal, Cohousing Collaborative, LLC
Falls Church, VA
zabaldo [at]

When Isaac Newton stayed home to avoid the 1665 plague, he discovered the Laws 
of Gravity, Optics, and he invented Calculus

NOTE:  I’m switching back to using zabaldo [at]  Many apologies!

>> On 4/9/2021 8:59 AM, Chris Roth - Communities Editor wrote:
>>> Here's a letter I just sent to alexa.powell [at], the 
>>> contact listed at the bottom of the page linked in Becca-Person's message:
>>> Hi Alexa,
>>> Thank you for this initiative. I fully appreciate what you are trying to 
>>> accomplish and promote here. And...
>>> As you have probably heard from others by now, Cohousing is a 
>>> well-established term with national and international recognition and quite 
>>> a number of published books, as well as a national association (Cohousing 
>>> Assocation of the United States) and other groups associated with it--and 
>>> what you are describing here is NOT what this established word means. I 
>>> applaud what you are promoting here and these kinds of housing initiatives, 
>>> but I hope you will find another name for it, as your using this term seems 
>>> likely to create confusion as well as possibly even animosity/opposition 
>>> from those who would like to see this term used correctly to represent a 
>>> movement/form of community that they care about. I edit a magazine 
>>> <> about intentional communities and 
>>> other forms of cooperative culture that frequently features cohousing 
>>> projects (according to the accepted definition--see 
>>> <>--a combination of private homes with spaces 
>>> held in common, in a cooperatively governed intentional community) and we 
>>> are very careful to use this term correctly, in its intended meaning. 
>>> "Shared housing" would be a much more accurate term, without a specific 
>>> other meaning, for what you are describing, and I urge you to consider 
>>> using it, or some other term that accurately describes what you are 
>>> promoting without already having an accepted, different meaning.
>>> Please let me know if you have any questions or if you'd like me to connect 
>>> you with any further resources related to anything I've written about.
>>> Thank you!
>>> Chris Roth
>>> -- 
>>> Chris Roth
>>> Editor, Communities
>>> 81868 Lost Valley Lane
>>> Dexter, OR 97431
>>> editor [at]
>>> 541-937-5221
>>>> Date: Thu, 8 Apr 2021 10:31:01 -0500
>>>> From: Becca-Person Brackett<brackett3 [at]>
>>>> My Google alert on the word "Cohousing" keeps turning up misuse of the 
>>>> term.
>>>> Maybe it's a losing battle,  but I would urge anyone in the state of
>>>> Virginia  or cohousers in the DC area to send the word to the City Council
>>>> of Alexandria that cohousing is NOT boarding houses and renting out extra
>>>> bedrooms!
>>>> They are planning regulations to encourage co-living and allow more
>>>> density, make more affordable housing, and those are wonderful goals-  but
>>>> the cohousing community needs to tell them DON'T CALL IT COHOUSING.
>>>> I will keep on the alert!
>>>> Becca Brackett
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