Thursday, June 11, 2009

Co-Housing - Why is it "Left"?

(cross-posted from Over the Wall)

The Rag Blog has re-posted a piece from the New York Times about co-housing that makes the idea sound positively... mainstream.

“For a long time we’d always be referred to as ‘communes for the ’90s’ or ‘the new commune,’ ” said Mr. Ragland of the Cohousing Association. “But increasingly people are seeing that it’s really just a new type of neighborhood.”

The piece is a snapshop, a brief examination of what co-housing is and why it may be appealing -- or not. (Pets are an issue. Surprise.) But what caught my eye was the headline:

"To Your Left, a Better Way of Life?"

So... Neighborly interaction, a village-like setting, kids playing outside, these represent a leftist agenda?

Maybe it was the idea of communal kitchens and gathering spaces. Because we all know that only liberals like to cook together and hang out together. Or maybe it was the decision-making process, which in some communities is based on consensus. Because we know that only liberals like to have their concerns, desires and opinions taken into account before critical decisions affecting their daily lives are made.

Co-housing seeks to ameliorate the atomization of contemporary, post-industrial culture by creating -- or re-creating -- functional, human-scale neighborhoods. To characterize this as leftist is to misrepresent what is at root a basic human desire for interaction and socially-satisfying living arrangements. In fact, the article's author, Chris Colin -- who is presumably not responsible for the headline -- made mention of the "Norman Rockwellian" appeal of these communities.

And we all know what a Red he was.


  1. Ohhhh, so nice blogg!

    Agneta from Sweden

  2. I know, I freaks me out that we STILL have to cram labels onto anything and everything.
    I just want to roll my eyes, smack my forehead and yell:
    "...knock it off!!!!"
    ..don't we have enough divisiveness already?..long live community, left or right.

  3. I agree that I would welcome both those from the right, and the left, in a community like those talked about in the cohousing communities that I have read about. A space with plenty of privacy when you want and need it, and a great place to meet the neighbors that you have come to know as you work together to create the life you deserve. Supporting your neighbors, giving them the benefit of the doubt, and expecting the same.


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