Internet Service in Cohousing

A major conundrum for cohousing and one that warrants a chapter in the next book on building a cohousing community is internet service. To provide it collectively or each to their own? If collectively how to charge, or whether to include in condo fees? Which technology? Who maintains it?

When Takoma Village began planning in 1998-1999, we had several internet-knowledgeable people who insisted that we install wiring for internet connections. Every unit has at least 4 jacks with telephone, cable TV, and ethernet connections. The 3 and 4 bedrooms have more. Basically one in every room, even the kitchen. (We have connected units, not houses on lots.)

Internet service is included in our condo fee so it is paid at the same rate as condo fees, with larger units paying more. When people started using wireless, we installed community wireless connections for everyone to use. And we use each others. All the passwords are the same.

We have an intranet so people can share music and files, and the teenagers play games with each other. Several units collectively bought an expensive back-up drive to share and use our Intranet to backup.

The Set Up

There are routers in the north and south basements and in the common house basement that connect all the wires from  units to modems. For years we only had one modem. Then we upgraded to one modem with business class service. Now we have two business class service modems from two different companies so we rarely have a total outage when one service is down. Service is just a little slower; Netflix spins a bit.

One modem used to serve the North side and one the South side but one side has more gamers than the other. Unfair advantage to be limited to the same modem. Now the traffic rolls over.

Each ethernet jack in each unit is connected to the internet with its own IP address. This has caused a problem with Bluehost, our ISP, because they don’t like our account coming from different IPs all the time. So we have some special connection with them. When I worked on our website, that was a problem because my personal ISP is also Bluehost. Working on websites is upload intensive and with everyone’s email plus connections to our websites caused traffic jams. Now all the connections to Bluehost go through a single IP address.

What Doesn’t Work?

The problems are around the routers. One or the other of them blows a port with some regularity. It’s a long process to test the system and isolate the bad ports. We have internal people—one active expert and one that can be called in, and 2-3 who have training. The trained can get on the phone with an expert and understand how to follow his instructions. Without internal people trained to manage the network, we couldn’t do this.

One person who works professionally installing networks recommends purchasing new routers every year. Install the basic reliable inexpensive router and when you replace the next year the most reliable extra features will be built in and you will always have up-to-date trustworthy technology. No downtimes. Others think this is wasteful so we have downtimes until someone gets a new router, though I think now we always have a backup handy

What Else Could We Do?

Many would like to hire someone who would always be available. Our current expert often goes to very remote places to hike. But it would be expensive and no one is always available anyway. We used to have three experts but two moved. We can still call them but the system changes so their knowledge is not always current.

Some would like an external business class service that is guaranteed to be up 99% of the time. It feels uncomfortable to ask neighbors to go out in the evening or early morning or three days in a row to fix routers but so many people work from home now they are dependent on the Internet. I’m online literally 12-14 hours a day and others are too. (We can almost instantly contact each other—a subculture.)

We bought software so the techies can change settings and check the system from home on their computers, but when it is a hardware problem they still have to go to the basement. Often for several hours. And then they have to go to work, fixed or not.

Education and Warnings

We used to have huge problems with people moving in and setting up all their devices without letting our techs know that hew equipment had been installed. They would guess the settings or use the ones they had before and it would bring down the whole system. Or they would allow their systems to automatically choose an address and often it was their neighbor’s. One or the other would then get kicked off the system whenever both tried to get on online. Because we have an IP address for jack, each device—computers, cable system, netflix, Blueray, etc.—has its own settings. If people don’t have all of them set correctly, they can’t even use all their own equipment.

Now new people are warned before they move in to call the techs to set them up. In the panic of moving, they often forget. And when residents buy new equipment, they still forget that step.

It’s Still Worth It (On Most Days)

A collective system is soooo much cheaper than each of us having our own service and in-house attention is still better than someone who has never been here before—the usual case. Collectively, we can afford service that is four times as fast. It’s slower on Friday night when every one seems to be watching movies or playing games but still faster than the smaller residential modems most cable providers include in bundled packages. That service costs now $35 a month. 43 units x $35 = $1,500 a month. Instead we pay $365—80% less.

When we need repair of the modem, business class service is normally the same day, usually within hours. Residential service is usually a 3-4 day minimum; “next week,” the most common response.

Usage Is Way Up

When we moved in, less than half our households used the Internet at home. Whenever we sent out an email with a request the deadline for a response had to include a weekend for people who only read at home and workdays for those who only read at work. From the beginning, we had a computer in the office for people who didn’t have or need a computer. It is now used by people whose own computer is broken or much slower and by guests. And some just like to get out of their units.

We also have a duplex 3-in-1 printer that is hooked up to out intranet. Residents don’t need a scanner, copier, or fax machine, and can print from home.

When only a few were using the internet at home, it was harder to get attention to the network being down because very few people were dependent on it. Several of us had our own modems because of this. Now every household has at least one device hooked up. I have four and a router to handle them. Some have their own internal intranet so they can share devices. About a third work at home all the time or a significant part of the time. And that number is growing rapidly. I would guess that most people check work email at home though some companies are now not allowing that for security reasons.

A long history but an important one that I think that Takoma Village has handled at a high level because we had tech savvy people from the beginning who were avid about new technology and foresaw the future—even though it still isn’t perfect. Every community will probably be at some point in this evolutionary process. If anyone is beyond it, please let me know!

Cohousing Challenges: Communes and Survivalists

The ongoing challenge of cohousing is convincing town planning boards and neighborhood associations that a cohousing community is not a commune. It is more a cooperatively managed condominium than naked dancers in the woods living on rice and fruit.

But in Utah the challenge is even greater. The disclaimer on the Utah Valley Commons Cohousing home page is: We are not survivalists.

The full statement is:

The Utah Valley Commons has no political or religious affiliation.We are not “survivalists,” nor do we attempt to
impose lifestyle restrictions (e.g., what kind of food you can eat) on our members.  We respect each other’s privacy.  The
UVCC is committed to providing a safe, healthy, and sustainable community for individuals and families.

View of site under consideration for Utah Valley Commons Cohousing
Possible site of Utah Valley Commons Cohousing

Since they were able to get approval from the town planning board for straw bale construction and to cluster the houses instead of spacing each house in the center of several acres, I think they will be able to meet the survivalist challenge. The survivalists are probably not comfortable with the temporal image of straw bale. While it is a very strong and environmentally sound building material, it does have the image of something not quite up to guns and combat.

Building Codes & Tiny Houses

Book Cover: Cracking the Code
Building codes in towns and suburbs are a major obstacle for people interested in forming cohousing communities and ecovillages composed entirely or partially of tiny houses. Ryan Mitchell who writes the Tiny Life blog and builds tiny houses has now published a book of tips on how to address code issues called Cracking the Code.

This guide is designed to help you navigate all the red tape when it comes to tiny housing. I have designed this manual to help you quickly familiarize yourself with some of the key bureaucratic road blocks, suggest possible pathways to building your home from the legal perspective, and several strategies to make it a success.

If you are hoping to build a tiny house, this is information that you will need. For those who purchase this they will also get and additional 180 pages of reference materials and free updates on future versions.

For those unfamiliar with tiny houses they can be as small as 90 square feet but are typically more like

Tumbleweed Tiny House Company for plans and prefabricated houses beautifully designed.

DesignBoom for images of tiny houses in all shapes and sizes around the world.

Tiny House Listings already built houses for sale. A super energy-efficient 400 SF modern design for $65,000. A 400 SF log sided home for $49,900.

The Tiny House Swoon for beautiful photos of tiny houses. Interior and exterior.

Domino Toppling

Gretchen's Domino Forest, September 2012
Gretchen’s Domino Forest, September 2012

Domino toppling is a wonderful community and team building exercise. I’ve collected 2,000+ dominos — a small collection by any serious standards—a box of foam blocks, a box of small wooden blocks, realistic animal figures, Disney characters, and finger puppets to build scenes. It helps to have a common house so we can build on the tables. This works very well for all ages, particularly mine. It also helps keep the dominos and assorted props from walking away. Even the smallest can pull up a chair and practice knocking things down.

Some focus on building towers, others racing ramps for cars, and others scenes of fantasy worlds like the one here by Gretchen.

This is fun but not easy. More work than you would think.

Videos and Information

At the very bottom of this LOOONG message of video addresses and ideas, there is a link to a company that does team building exercises and makes commercials. A Wonderful commercial on their site that runs all over a South American village.

Learn many tricks from the link below — an 8 minute video of one person’s 68 individual projects. You will be very surprised even if you haven’t seen domino toppling before:


Basic tips from the Circus, includes making template out of Legos:

The Circus

BIG PROJECT BY A GROUP OF TEENS IN GERMANY CALLED THE CIRCUS. They take over a school gym for two weeks and build night and day. Sleeping, eating, and showering at the school.

Watch the preparation days for how to tricks. Posted by IIIIIDominoIIIII

Preparation Day 1 — painting dominos

Preparation Day 2 — 3.21 — Sorting, diagramming. tests, weighing,

Preparation Day 3 — shopping for wood, the preparation area, making props, testing

Preparation Day 4 — 3.27 — truck deliveries, tests, building bases.

Behind the Blocks–7.00–In German. Not terribly interesting in spots but you can meet the guys behind this and see how they set up the dominos. They have some tricks.

CDT 2012, The Long Version — 57.41 — The smaller ones are really more interesting but here it is.

Includes set up, tests, screw ups, fails, footage from preparation day videos, 1 year of preparations, many diagrams. The building begins on 9 August 2012, Cologne, Day of the event, Dramatic lighting and long. 23 builders, 200,000 dominoes, Group started in 2007 with 70,000 dominoes. Videos on the last 5 years. Explanation of records set. Special Guest arrives at 27:45. Countdown at 29:50. 41:15 See the ones that didn’t fall. 177,414 fell. Took two weeks to build. Literally lived in the school gym.

Just the fall down–9:41– Includes the Clean Up.

Ideas for Designing and Building

–Planning: Draw diagrams. newsprint colored paper.
–Paint one side of black dominos so when fallen make a different pattern. Put them in a corner brace so can paint all at one time.
–ball is released and flips over to knock down the next flow.
–Dominos fall through a grid to the ground.

Toppling cards stacked in /\/\/\/\ shapes.
Cards against dominos

Up and down furniture and all through the building. Indoors and outdoors.

Something dropping off a high ledge onto a trigger.

–Small figure in the middle that is only revealed when all the dominoes fall.
–Dominos falling to turn a horizontal bar like a gate that knocks over the next row.
–Putting out the last section before the cascade gets to it.
–Ball released into a pit by one string and then anther string falls over the ball.
–A flower with purple in the middle and green rows coming out from the edges. The purple falls straight and pushes the greens our to the side forming the final picture of the flower.
–Dominos crash increasingly larger blocks until the are knocking down large blocks.

Team Building

Cooperation and Communications in Team Building:

Team Building

Domino Day 2009. 1.5 hours in Dutch? 4.800,000 dominos. 4.491,863 fallen. Many ideas.

How to Build a Major Project

Tips and Tricks

Diversity of Another Sort

One of the aims of developing cohousing communities is diversity — in age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, household composition, sexual orientation, etc. You name it, we want it. Recruitment focuses getting more but groups feel they have failed if those who come forward are not different from themselves. Both forming and built communities are proud to say, “We have 2 of these and 1 of those and 3 more of these are considering joining.” They cite their diversity statistics in order to convince city councils to approve their zoning requests.

Diversity of Another Sort in Washington, DC

World Bank Meeting 2012
World Bank Meeting 2012

A few months after move-in, all our diversity quotas met or met to the extent we could meet them, I realized we had met a diversity standard that none of us had considered that would probably be impossible to meet outside of Washington DC. Doris had called together a cookout, one of our first, by announcing fried chicken in the piazza on Sunday at 1:00. Everyone else who was around brought this and that and a bunch of us were soon settled around a big round table discussing the events of the weekend. In DC, that often means demonstrations. This one, a very big one, would be at the World Bank.

Always at the center of any protest, Herb was prepared to leave early in the morning to meet protesters from out-of-town at the end of the Metro line to escort them to the protest site. He started talking about other things he would be doing.  Anna was delighted because the demonstrations meant she had the day off since she worked at the World Bank and had been ordered for her safety not to come to work. She thanked her new neighbors for her good fortune.

Carol said, “Please. Don’t thank me. I have three proposals that I’m waiting to hear back on. I need to know if we have money to go back to Africa or not, and things in India are not so great if I can’t put more into the next phase than we put into the last one. I doubt if any of those offices took all their grant applications home with them on Friday.” Doris said that she would be off work that day too, but on duty with the Guard. Doris said, “It’s no vacation for me. I have to report for duty at 4:00 am and I have no idea when I will be home.

Everyone laughed and the conversation resumed discussing the last World Bank demonstration and the casualties that had resulted. The promise was more National Guard presence and more planning. Herb asked Doris what they had planned this time and where she would be positioned. Doris said, “I won’t know until I report for duty because that — ”

Silence. Everyone looked up.

Doris continued in a studied tone, “That would be confidential.”

Herb apologized, and we changed the subject. A perfectly innocent question on Herb’s part, serious interest in an event we were all watching but no intention of playing sleuth with his neighbor.

True Diversity

Army Officer UniformWhile the diversity points for that conversation would have been about a 10 on the basis of age, race, marital status, parental status, and a few more things I can’t remember, the ones that no one had probably even considered before that conversation were military status, activism, and opponents and beneficiaries of World Bank monies. When I told this story on the Cohousing-L email discussion list, one person contacted me privately to ask how we even live together. “Do you really eat at the same table?”

I receive similar questions when I report that we have an Army General who appears in camouflage fatigues and another resident who “works for Army Intelligence assigned to the Joint Chiefs of Staff” who comes home in his green beret.

In all honesty, just like our other diversity points, they are just like everyone else. The differences are in personality, not age, skin color, background, occupation, or sexual orientation.

Lot Development or Build All at Once?

What are the benefits and detractors for the standard cohousing model where you plan everything out then build it all then move in vs an alternative model of only selling lots to members and then people build their own houses?

Developing a community lot by lot isn’t the standard so much as the only way some communities could get started, both because of funding and because of the real estate expectations in some areas. In the early 1980s condominiums were still highly suspect in many small cities and particularly in rural areas.

I personally prefer the attached unit model and believe it makes the most sense economically, environmentally, socially, etc. One attachment to free standing homes arises from the desire for privacy. This is a serious concern. One way to address it is with the very best soundproofing materials you can find.

Amplified music, screaming children (and adults), game playing devices (weird repetitive noises), love in the afternoon (and night), cats rolling marbles overhead all day, widely varying sleep/stomping schedules, etc., are what drive people to the “give me space” options on both sides. It’s both the fear of being spontaneous and the fear of listening to others be spontaneous. Some sounds and people you get used to and others you don’t.

While I prefer attached dwellings, I still don’t like not being able to rearrange furniture at midnight or allow little feet to run around happily chasing each other. The pre-war buildings in Manhattan that were built of cast iron are still prized because there is absolutely no sound transfer from one unit to the next. And it is because of the cast iron.

Before researching this, I thought sound dampening came from soft surfaces. It does but only for reverberations inside a room. The important sound transfer stuff is the result of the density, or lack of density, in the construction materials that transfer sounds throughout the walls and floors. That two-year old running across my wood floor becomes a thundering elephant to my downstairs neighbor.

Cast iron is now prohibitively expensive unless you are building a huge building or a parking garage but there are other methods and materials that can be used.

Take sound transfer seriously and you can build the kind of buildings that will support a close, conveniently social, multi-generational community.

Multi-Tasking & Solitude

A link from my daughter to an article on multi-tasking in the American Scholar prompts this post — or rather congealed it. I’ve been struggling with a life that has become so complex I wake up thinking about taking long road trips in a small car with impersonal motel rooms, or moving to a Tumbleweed House of 200 square feet. Calculating how can I reduce the size of my apartment so life will be simpler. Each pile of things, each object reminds me of tasks unfinished. Lack of focus. Ambitions unfulfilled. Good intentions failed.

And then I get up and start the race to fix my  body, get in shape, cure my brain, think faster, walk faster, be happy, get rich — all so I can do more. Do it all. Prioritization is still a task to be mastered. Another time consuming activity that demands a decision about whether to use a spreadsheet or a database. Remember pen and pencil, I ask?

But how to find the right list under all the piles of magazines and downloaded and printed out articles to read. The un-filed bills and notes of things to look up on the web. Piles of books read, but waiting for notes to be made.

Multi-Tasking and Leadership

William Deresiewicz’s Solitude and Leadership is a reprint of a lecture delivered to the entering class at the United States Military Academy at West Point in October, 2010. His subject was leadership, a connection that presents a view of multi-tasking that is apart from the usual modern angst of having too much to do, lowering stress levels, or wanting more leisure or family time. His focus is not that we try to do so many things we do none of them well, but that we can’t be leaders, of ourselves or others, unless we take time to reflect and find our own reality. This requires solitude.

Leadership & Solitude

Great books don’t reflect the conventional wisdom of their day, the kind you get on Facebook and Twitter. They were written in solitude and present ideas and insights that are revolutionary. “Without solitude—the solitude of Adams and Jefferson and Hamilton and Madison and Thomas Paine—there would be no America.”

Solitude is necessary to maintain the deep friendship of intimate conversation. “Long, uninterrupted talk with one other person. Not Skyping with three people and texting with two others. … Instead of having one or two true friends that we can sit and talk to for three hours at a time, we have 968 ‘friends’ that we never actually talk to; instead we just bounce one-line messages off them a hundred times a day. This is not friendship, this is distraction.”

Solitude is what is necessary to think about “doubts you aren’t supposed to have, questions you aren’t supposed to ask.”

And especially for speaking to future military leaders: “How will you find the strength and wisdom to challenge an unwise order or question a wrongheaded policy? What will you do the first time you have to write a letter to the mother of a slain soldier? How will you find words of comfort that are more than just empty formulas?”

The Multi-Tasks & Living a Long Time

I was pleased to read Deresiewicz’s account of a research study showing that even college students, our brightest and best young peak performers, do not function well when multi-tasking. I have always considered myself to be a good multi-tasker but at 68, I’m multi-tasked out. While some of the reason may be age, I don’t feel a similar decline in ability to think. While I do take on too many projects to complete in a live time, it isn’t because I take on too many projects. I’ve always had this many projects.

What has tipped my life over the edge seems to be that living a long time makes one’s life more complex.

I used to have two simple little children but children and grandchildren keep multiplying. With no further action on my part, I now have a big family. I have to have a calendar to keep track of birthdays — and I’m still not doing it well. What made me realize this truth in children was reconnecting with my best friend in high school who had her first child at 19 and now at 69 has great grandchildren who are in college. Family history and modern medical miracles predict that she will live to be at least 90. I can’t do the math on that many generations with the addition of her children’s and grandchildren’s spouses (and ex-spouses) and variations of 2-3 children in each constellation. I’m glad I stopped at two and started late. And am less healthy.

I no longer live in a single family home or an impersonal condominium where my friends lived elsewhere and we arranged to meet on a regular basis. I live in a cohousing community, a place where we not only know each other’s names but most of our problems as well. Our pantheon of cohousing relationships continues to grow in every household with marriages, births, adoptions, and one single person moving out and 2-3 moving in. I can’t even count the people as I think about this. I actually do have a database to keep track of them. And they knock on my door and walk in. Welcome, but a very different relationship  to the world than I had 20 years ago.

Finding Solitude

All these people — family and friends — are in addition to my own writing projects, art projects, and just plain interests — film, books, history, polities. I was once warned that as one grew older life would become more narrow as I stopped teaching, children became independent, friends died, and so on. I’m finding it hard to find that solitude that I was warned against as loneliness.

Deresiewicz may have pointed his finger well for me, reminding me that enforcing some solitude on myself is what I need to sort it all out. In addition to long road trips and tiny houses, I’ve been fantasizing about becoming a hermit. An odd old lady in a black dress that never opens her door or speaks to anyone. Walks hunched over so she doesn’t have to make eye-contact and lives in a cave with her books.

William Deresiewicz was formerly an associate professor at Yale University, sat on their admissions committee, and a noted and controversial critic and essayist. This article is too long and a bit rambling but worth the effort. It would be nice if the American Scholar was better edited  but it is easier to skim the online version than it is the bound version that does not lie flat.

Elbows and Puzzles

I learned in my family that jigsaw puzzles were worked by turning all the pieces right side up, sorting out the border pieces and putting the border together first. Then you start on the most obvious parts and put those together, putting them into the frame as they seem to fit. Then you work the hard, all-one-color or random pattern areas last — if at all.

Living in a diverse community, however, reveals more complex patterns, or personalities. At Takoma Village, we have a jigsaw puzzle set up all the time in one corner of the common house sun room. I have learned that not every family starts with the border, some people prefer the freedom from interference they find in working the less obvious plain shapes first, some consider looking at the end-state picture too easy, some quit as soon as it is clear that even one piece is missing, and some won’t put any pieces together until all the pieces are sorted into little baggies of similar color and texture. Some want a hard puzzle that that will last forever, and others love a puzzle that can be finished in one sitting.

At first there was shock over this, then arguing, sometimes logical. Then there were elbows and  midnight reconfigurations. Over time, we have informally worked out a pattern. We alternate hard (complex subtle colors with 1000+ pieces) and easy (bright multi-colored images of 500) puzzles. The sorters no longer insist on sealed baggies filled first but the border constructers respect their piles and bowls. When the first one there starts with images the border people stand aside for a few days until they can’t take it anymore. Those who do well with the one-blue sky don’t waste their energy on the faces, leaving the simpler parts to those who enjoy less challenge. Those who like birds don’t complain about the buildings again until it’s been three in a row.

A person who wants to pick the next puzzle puts it on the table when the current puzzle is almost finished. If someone doesn’t like it, they complain to someone else. The telephone tree goes into operation and the puzzles get switched.

It works until a new person moves in who learned to work puzzles another way or who totally misses the importance of the puzzle sitting on the corner of the table or the  pile of cherry-red pieces next to the pile of tomato-red.

With all this, we finally finished the 9000+ Tower of Babel we started years ago. It’s been done for a few weeks but with the holidays, we wanted to wait to celebrate until it could be the center of attention. More later.

Sharing the Microwave

We are having the wood floors in our dining room and the cork floors in the corridors connecting the rooms on the first floor refinished. When the workers arrived yesterday morning, I showed them where the restrooms were and took them to the kitchen to locate the microwave and refrigerator. They looked at me quizzically.

I said, “I realize you probably want to go out for lunch but you’re welcome to use them anyway.”

“Us?” If they have been smoking, their cigars would have been on the floor.

We have a resident with parents in Florida who send him a case every year. He can’t possibly eat all of them so he puts them on the counter for the taking. I offered both workers oranges. They looked at me like, “What are you up to?”

Living in cohousing creates a kind of blinders to the way the rest of the residential building world works. Then a little thing like this reminds me. We offer the same amenities to our mail and package delivery people. They have few places where a restroom is available—a clean one—and they sometimes stop in just to pee. A former postal worker used to have her lunch here everyday. She read her newspaper and listened to music. One used to watch TV on his break.

One brought us a stack of puzzles his family had finished because we always have a puzzle table out next to the window in the sunroom.

We put out cookies during the holidays, too, but lots of people do that. One year we put out a big bag of popcorn and it was rejected.

The New Neighborhoods

Neighborhoods like the one you, or your parents, or your grandparents probably grew up in are still alive and well but are in high-rise buildings, the suburbs, urban renewal, and housing complexes.

Our old neighborhoods were, where our grandparents and great grandparents lived, were relatively stable with generations of the same families living on the block, and if not on this block the next one over. It was a place where not only did everyone know your name, they had always known your name. They were all like family. The ones we loved, the ones we hated, and the ones we only saw on holidays.

While the freedom of anonymity and the ability to choose any where in the world to study and work are liberating, it came at a cost. We now have few relationships with our neighbors deeper than a hasty hello over the top of a car as we race away from home for 10-12 hours a day or a cautious “Good Morning” at the elevator, rarely a jovial, “Hey how are you?” Unless we have children who play on the same baseball team or are in the same chess club, or we have a dog that we take the same dog run, we have few ties. When mail is mis-delivered, it’s the address we  recognize, not the name.

A culture has built up, particularly in large buildings and new housing developments, in which we are expected to ignore our neighbors. We tell ourselves that we are respecting their privacy or protecting our own. But are we?

It is possible and even probable that we have idealized those old nieghborhoods. But if we have, what does it mean? I think it means that that kind of neighborhood is where we want to live. Whether it ever existed  or not, is irrelevant. We have the image, the dream, and it didn’t just appear out of nowhere. It’s the image of where we want to live.

How do we build, or rebuild the dream and sustain it? How do we deal with the nitty-gritty of common interest ownership and shared facilities management? Redesigning our expanses of suburbs into villages with small town squares surrounded with shops and restaurants. Create shared spaces in huge buildings where children can play and adults can watch the Oscars or World Cup games together. Or work jigsaw puzzles and build a small take-it-or-leave-it library of paperback books. And just get to know each other.

The posts under Cohousing focus on these questions, so please explore and discuss, send suggestions, and share your stories of developing a community where there wasn’t one before.