Not a Perfect Solution

Posted on March 9, 2009 by


A while back Derek responded to the cohousing discussion, saying, “Honestly, I’d want something to basically BE a suburban home (though not of the same size necessarily), and then have all of the nice community aspects – the community meeting area, kitchen, parks, etc. Too much to ask?” He said it jokingly, but it’s a valid point. I’ve been writing about cohousing in a very positive light, but it’s not a perfect solution. There are tradeoffs. I don’t want to gloss over the difficulties, so here’s my pros and cons list:


  • Close to friends
  • Safe, stable environment for kids to grow up in
  • Community resources gives everyone things they couldn’t afford alone
  • Kids can walk to after-school activities
  • Easy access to entertainment
  • Park and playground on site
  • Attractive, integrated community design


  • Startup financing
  • Less control over landscaping
  • Requires more cooperation with neighbors
  • Smaller homes, due to community facilities
  • External parking

That’s how it looks to me. I find that the cons are less important to me now than they used to be. Before owning a house, I imagined the kind of awesome yard and landscaping and garden I would build for it. Now that I’m a homeowner, I’ve learned that I have too many other interests to commit much of my discretionary time to yardwork.

On the other hand, the pros are more important than I used to think, especially regarding raising kids. I like the idea of my kids being able to go play outside without having to be either locked in a fenced backyard or out by the street. I like the idea of my kids growing up with other kids and adults whom they know and can trust. And I like the idea of not having to drive my kids to all their after-school activities, assuming that the community will have the people and facilities to provide music lessons, sports, tutoring, etc.

Priorities are a very individual choice. I’m sure I’ve overlooked some pros and cons in my list. So tell me, what’s most important to you in considering a place to live? What would you add to your list of pros and cons?

Posted in: Green Hill