Re: Alexandria VA wants to group cohousing with Boarding houses - please speak up
From: Chris Roth - Communities Editor (
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 2021 05:59:28 -0700 (PDT)
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
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On 4/9/2021 6:16 AM, cohousing-l-request [at] wrote:
Message: 1
Date: Thu, 8 Apr 2021 10:31:01 -0500
From: Becca-Person Brackett <brackett3 [at]>
To: cohousing-l [at], Fred Olson <fholson [at]>
Subject: [C-L]_ Alexandria VA wants to group cohousing with Boarding
        houses - please speak up
        <CA+D2w7f0FqofJOThW7jJFkHNowuvJqC_Qv5jp3+veWfnOeVLxw [at]>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"

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

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 like to refer officials and journalist to the wikipedia page
and especially the first sentence:
" *Cohousing*[1] <> is
an intentional community
<> of private homes
clustered around shared space. The term originated in Denmark
<> in late 1960s.[2]
<> Each attached or
single family home has traditional amenities, including a private kitchen."

If we don't speak up, the misinformation will continue - damaging the image
of true cohousing projects.
Cohousing  home purchasers should be able to benefit from any govt program
that assists in making home ownership more affordable.
How is Alexandria addressing that need?

I will keep on the alert!
Becca Brackett

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