What We Would Have Done Differently.V19
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What We Would Have Done Differently.V19

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What some of the folks at Cobb Hill Cohousing would do differently if we could build our cohousing over again.

What some of the folks at Cobb Hill Cohousing would do differently if we could build our cohousing over again.

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What We Would Have Done Differently.V19 What We Would Have Done Differently.V19 Presentation Transcript

  • Cobb Hill Cohousing What We (I) Would Do Differently If We Could Do It Over Again
  • Introduction
  • The Five-minute Version
  • Off-the-cuff responses from 9 Cobb Hillians
  • Off-the-cuff responses from 9 Cobb Hillians Quickly first, we’ll revisit at the end…
  • B Have a metric for what you mean by sustainability (something like ecological footprint or something simpler)—then rate building choices using that metric.
  • B Have a metric for what you mean by sustainability (something like ecological footprint or something simpler)—then rate building choices using that metric. We asked our architect to minimize the number of choices being offered, but we still ended up with having to choose between lists of options (red oak, pine, maple, etc.)
    • The houses. I’d make them smaller, simpler, with more build-ins and better sound-proofing.
    Physical G
    • The houses. I’d make them smaller, simpler, with more build-ins and better sound-proofing.
        • Build small, well-designed, well-built dwellings (broom closets where likely to have brooms; washer/drier, if going to have, on same floor as clothes).
    Physical G
    • The houses. I’d make them smaller, simpler, with more build-ins and better sound-proofing.
        • Build small, well-designed, well-built dwellings (broom closets where likely to have brooms; washer/drier, if going to have, on same floor as clothes).
    Physical G Have a system for decision-making in place, a consistent protocol, a way to keep track of what comes up in meetings—write them down.
      • Spiritual
    • The houses. I’d make them smaller, simpler, with more build-ins and better sound-proofing.
        • Build small, well-designed, well-built dwellings (broom closets where likely to have brooms; washer/drier, if going to have, on same floor as clothes).
    Physical G Have a system for decision-making in place, a consistent protocol, a way to keep track of what comes up in meetings—write them down.
        • Have a clear mission that is spelled out and have people write down their interpretation of how that mission might be met (easy to assume that others have the same vision for sustainability).
      • Spiritual
    • The houses. I’d make them smaller, simpler, with more build-ins and better sound-proofing.
        • Build small, well-designed, well-built dwellings (broom closets where likely to have brooms; washer/drier, if going to have, on same floor as clothes).
    Physical G Have a system for decision-making in place, a consistent protocol, a way to keep track of what comes up in meetings—write them down.
        • Have a clear mission that is spelled out and have people write down their interpretation of how that mission might be met (easy to assume that others have the same vision for sustainability).
        • Think about issues early, before living there (see Cobb Hill CR&A’s): pets, protocol for selling homes, protocol for profit on home sales (shared with community to support financial aid perhaps).
      • Spiritual
  • No valleys with standing seam roofs (ice dams). J
  • No valleys with standing seam roofs (ice dams). Discipline: stay simple, avoid angles. (We had the advice to stay simple, but we didn’t stay disciplined about it.) J
  • No valleys with standing seam roofs (ice dams). Discipline: stay simple, avoid angles. (We had the advice to stay simple, but we didn’t stay disciplined about it.) Watch out for where snow will go: off roofs, when plowing. J
  • No valleys with standing seam roofs (ice dams). Discipline: stay simple, avoid angles. (We had the advice to stay simple, but we didn’t stay disciplined about it.) Watch out for where snow will go: off roofs, when plowing. Have dormers with shed roofs, not gabled J
  • No valleys with standing seam roofs (ice dams). Discipline: stay simple, avoid angles. (We had the advice to stay simple, but we didn’t stay disciplined about it.) Watch out for where snow will go: off roofs, when plowing. Have dormers with shed roofs, not gabled Ice shears the fins of standing seam roofs J
  • No valleys with standing seam roofs (ice dams). Discipline: stay simple, avoid angles. (We had the advice to stay simple, but we didn’t stay disciplined about it.) Watch out for where snow will go: off roofs, when plowing. Have dormers with shed roofs, not gabled Ice shears the fins of standing seam roofs “ Have a friend, JD_____, who consults for cohousing folks—could hook you up.” J
  • Garn away from houses K
  • Garn away from houses Clear expectations around how work will be divided. K
      • Common House
          • Don’t want to take shortcuts that will have to pay for later.
    J
      • Common House
          • Don’t want to take shortcuts that will have to pay for later.
          • Apartments in a separate building.
    J
      • Common House
          • Don’t want to take shortcuts that will have to pay for later.
          • Apartments in a separate building.
          • Want to be able to have a dance party late into the night.
    J
      • Common House
          • Don’t want to take shortcuts that will have to pay for later.
          • Apartments in a separate building.
          • Want to be able to have a dance party late into the night.
          • Mortgage-ability of units.
    J
      • Common House
          • Don’t want to take shortcuts that will have to pay for later.
          • Apartments in a separate building.
          • Want to be able to have a dance party late into the night.
          • Mortgage-ability of units.
          • We have everything in our houses—what if the houses were smaller—more reason to come to the Common House.
    J
      • Common House
          • Don’t want to take shortcuts that will have to pay for later.
          • Apartments in a separate building.
          • Want to be able to have a dance party late into the night.
          • Mortgage-ability of units.
          • We have everything in our houses—what if the houses were smaller—more reason to come to the Common House.
        • Clear expectations around being community-minded
          • Might not bother you to have stuff lying around, but might bother someone else.
    J
      • Common House
          • Don’t want to take shortcuts that will have to pay for later.
          • Apartments in a separate building.
          • Want to be able to have a dance party late into the night.
          • Mortgage-ability of units.
          • We have everything in our houses—what if the houses were smaller—more reason to come to the Common House.
        • Clear expectations around being community-minded
          • Might not bother you to have stuff lying around, but might bother someone else.
          • If you break it, you fix it.
    J
      • Common House
          • Don’t want to take shortcuts that will have to pay for later.
          • Apartments in a separate building.
          • Want to be able to have a dance party late into the night.
          • Mortgage-ability of units.
          • We have everything in our houses—what if the houses were smaller—more reason to come to the Common House.
        • Clear expectations around being community-minded
          • Might not bother you to have stuff lying around, but might bother someone else.
          • If you break it, you fix it.
        • Work sharing—how do you equate brawn work, membership tours, making the budget, and snow shoveling?
    J
      • Common House
          • Don’t want to take shortcuts that will have to pay for later.
          • Apartments in a separate building.
          • Want to be able to have a dance party late into the night.
          • Mortgage-ability of units.
          • We have everything in our houses—what if the houses were smaller—more reason to come to the Common House.
        • Clear expectations around being community-minded
          • Might not bother you to have stuff lying around, but might bother someone else.
          • If you break it, you fix it.
        • Work sharing—how do you equate brawn work, membership tours, making the budget, and snow shoveling?
        • Clearly articulate aesthetics ahead of time
          • Function = Beauty (ex: plastic-wrapped hay), or Flowers = Beauty?
    J
      • Common House
          • Don’t want to take shortcuts that will have to pay for later.
          • Apartments in a separate building.
          • Want to be able to have a dance party late into the night.
          • Mortgage-ability of units.
          • We have everything in our houses—what if the houses were smaller—more reason to come to the Common House.
        • Clear expectations around being community-minded
          • Might not bother you to have stuff lying around, but might bother someone else.
          • If you break it, you fix it.
        • Work sharing—how do you equate brawn work, membership tours, making the budget, and snow shoveling?
        • Clearly articulate aesthetics ahead of time
          • Function = Beauty (ex: plastic-wrapped hay), or Flowers = Beauty?
          • Cut the grass or no?
    J
      • Common House
          • Don’t want to take shortcuts that will have to pay for later.
          • Apartments in a separate building.
          • Want to be able to have a dance party late into the night.
          • Mortgage-ability of units.
          • We have everything in our houses—what if the houses were smaller—more reason to come to the Common House.
        • Clear expectations around being community-minded
          • Might not bother you to have stuff lying around, but might bother someone else.
          • If you break it, you fix it.
        • Work sharing—how do you equate brawn work, membership tours, making the budget, and snow shoveling?
        • Clearly articulate aesthetics ahead of time
          • Function = Beauty (ex: plastic-wrapped hay), or Flowers = Beauty?
          • Cut the grass or no?
        • Enterprises—a little weird but neat b/c people doing what want to do; could have done things more communally though.
    J
      • Common House
          • Don’t want to take shortcuts that will have to pay for later.
          • Apartments in a separate building.
          • Want to be able to have a dance party late into the night.
          • Mortgage-ability of units.
          • We have everything in our houses—what if the houses were smaller—more reason to come to the Common House.
        • Clear expectations around being community-minded
          • Might not bother you to have stuff lying around, but might bother someone else.
          • If you break it, you fix it.
        • Work sharing—how do you equate brawn work, membership tours, making the budget, and snow shoveling?
        • Clearly articulate aesthetics ahead of time
          • Function = Beauty (ex: plastic-wrapped hay), or Flowers = Beauty?
          • Cut the grass or no?
        • Enterprises—a little weird but neat b/c people doing what want to do; could have done things more communally though.
        • P once said, “What do we need bedrooms for [in the houses]—just sleep there—could have everything in one room and have beds that pull down from the walls.”
    J
  • K Common House was going to be a one-room meeting space.
  • K Common House was going to be a one-room meeting space. Thought about one kitchen for all members—dorm-style living.
  • K Common House was going to be a one-room meeting space. Thought about townhouses—more resource efficient. Thought about one kitchen for all members—dorm-style living.
  • K Common House was going to be a one-room meeting space. Thought about townhouses—more resource efficient. Thought about one kitchen for all members—dorm-style living. Might have been good to have one house shared by three people [instead of three apartments in the Common House].
  • K Common House was going to be a one-room meeting space. Thought about townhouses—more resource efficient. Thought about one kitchen for all members—dorm-style living. Might have been good to have one house shared by three people [instead of three apartments in the Common House]. Some of the do-it-yourselfers got priced out.
  • K Common House was going to be a one-room meeting space. Thought about townhouses—more resource efficient. Thought about one kitchen for all members—dorm-style living. Might have been good to have one house shared by three people [instead of three apartments in the Common House]. Some of the do-it-yourselfers got priced out. Might want to put a cap on the number of square feet per person--the way we did it some single people are at 400 sq ft and others are at 3000 sq ft
  • The common house and apartments, Sept 2002 N Fewer people.
  • The common house and apartments, Sept 2002 N Fewer people. Cut Common House to 1/16 th the size.
  • The common house and apartments, Sept 2002 N Fewer people. Cut Common House to 1/16 th the size. Cut house sizes by ½.
  • The common house and apartments, Sept 2002 N Fewer people. Cut Common House to 1/16 th the size. Cut house sizes by ½. Don’t let your founder die.
  • The common house and apartments, Sept 2002 N Fewer people. Cut Common House to 1/16 th the size. Cut house sizes by ½. Don’t let your founder die.
    • Enterprise thing too complicated:
      • Proceeds pay salaries of some.
  • The common house and apartments, Sept 2002 N Fewer people. Cut Common House to 1/16 th the size. Cut house sizes by ½. Don’t let your founder die.
    • Enterprise thing too complicated:
      • Proceeds pay salaries of some.
      • Feels segmented b/c it is segmented.
  • The common house and apartments, Sept 2002 N Fewer people. Cut Common House to 1/16 th the size. Cut house sizes by ½. Don’t let your founder die.
    • Enterprise thing too complicated:
      • Proceeds pay salaries of some.
      • Feels segmented b/c it is segmented.
    Try to prevent bedroom community.
  • The common house and apartments, Sept 2002 In one core thought: the thing that damned Cobb Hill was the economics—it turned out to be upper middle class lip service to simple living. J
  • The common house and apartments, Sept 2002 In one core thought: the thing that damned Cobb Hill was the economics—it turned out to be upper middle class lip service to simple living. J The material things got way too important, and we didn’t understand it until it was too late.
  • The common house and apartments, Sept 2002 In one core thought: the thing that damned Cobb Hill was the economics—it turned out to be upper middle class lip service to simple living. J The material things got way too important, and we didn’t understand it until it was too late. I fell into it too—I wanted pretty windows—in retrospect it would have been better to have two rooms.
  • M Sustainability is a journey: after every set of steps toward sustainability, you’ll likely want to take others—try to build something that can go to the next level of sustainability.
  • M Sustainability is a journey: after every set of steps toward sustainability, you’ll likely want to take others—try to build something that can go to the next level of sustainability. Numbers of people: go smaller or bigger. We have forty adults (twenty-thee homes). We’re small enough so there’s the feeling that one ought to be able to be close with everyone, yet many of us have found it impossible to develop forty close relationships.
  • M Consider situating homes so they don’t “look” at each other. Community life can be intense; it’s nice to have a choice about when to have it in your viewscape. Sustainability is a journey: after every set of steps toward sustainability, you’ll likely want to take others—try to build something that can go to the next level of sustainability. Numbers of people: go smaller or bigger. We have forty adults (twenty-thee homes). We’re small enough so there’s the feeling that one ought to be able to be close with everyone, yet many of us have found it impossible to develop forty close relationships.
  • M Watch out for “feature creep” –it’ll increase your costs and you could end up living with a bunch of folks working so hard to make their mortgage payments that they don’t have time for community. Consider situating homes so they don’t “look” at each other. Community life can be intense; it’s nice to have a choice about when to have it in your viewscape. Sustainability is a journey: after every set of steps toward sustainability, you’ll likely want to take others—try to build something that can go to the next level of sustainability. Numbers of people: go smaller or bigger. We have forty adults (twenty-thee homes). We’re small enough so there’s the feeling that one ought to be able to be close with everyone, yet many of us have found it impossible to develop forty close relationships.
  • What is Sustainable?
  • If everyone on the planet did what I’m doing,
  • If everyone on the planet did what I’m doing, what shape would we be in?
  • A Garden Of Eden?
  • A Garden Of Eden? A banquet of plenty For everyone?
  • A Garden Of Eden? A banquet of plenty For everyone? A place of abundance for both humans and wild creatures?
  • What is the answer with my current and/or envisioned lifestyle?
  • Probably Sobering.
  • We’ve been in overshoot since 1978
  • We’ve been in overshoot since 1978 Check out the graph on pg 63 in Jim Merkel’s book Radical Simplicity .
  • What would life look like if we consumed only what the planet could sustainably produce?
  • The planet has 28.2 billion acres of bioproductive land.
  • The planet has 28.2 billion acres of bioproductive land. If you divide that among humanity’s 6 billion, you get 4.7 acres per person…
  • The planet has 28.2 billion acres of bioproductive land. If you divide that among humanity’s 6 billion, you get 4.7 acres per person… … if you leave nothing for other species.
  • How much of the earth’s biosphere do you want available to the other 7-25 million species? How much of the planet should remain wild?
  • Most people Jim Merkel has asked believe that 75% of the planet should be allotted to the other 7-25 million species.
  • Most people Jim Merkel has asked believe that 75% of the planet should be allotted to the other 7-25 million species. This number agrees with biologists’ estimates of what would be required to maintain biodiversity, and biodiversity is critical to the health of the earth’s ecosystems.
  • So, if each person on the planet used 1-2 acres of the earth’s bioproductive capacity and we protected approximately 3 acres per person for the health of our life-sustaining ecosystems…
  • So, if each person on the planet used 1-2 acres of the earth’s bioproductive capacity and we protected approximately 3 acres per person for the health of our life-sustaining ecosystems… We could live in a Garden of Eden
  • So, if each person on the planet used 1-2 acres of the earth’s bioproductive capacity and we protected approximately 3 acres per person for the health of our life-sustaining ecosystems… We could live in a Garden of Eden With plenty for everyone,
  • So, if each person on the planet used 1-2 acres of the earth’s bioproductive capacity and we protected approximately 3 acres per person for the health of our life-sustaining ecosystems… We could live in a Garden of Eden With plenty for everyone, Including the wild things,
  • So, if each person on the planet used 1-2 acres of the earth’s bioproductive capacity and we protected approximately 3 acres per person for the health of our life-sustaining ecosystems… We could live in a Garden of Eden With plenty for everyone, And we would have no need for war. Including the wild things,
  • The average American consumes 24 acres of the earth’s productivity.
  • How to get there from here?
  • How to get there from here? Step-by-step
  • How to get there from here? Step-by-step (Jim Merkel’s book)
  • Our life force is inexorably pulling us toward sustainability
  • Our life force is inexorably pulling us toward sustainability (it has to, or it couldn’t be called “life force”).
    • Many aspects of our lives can be continually and incrementally improved:
    • Many aspects of our lives can be continually and incrementally improved:
    Drive less
    • Many aspects of our lives can be continually and incrementally improved:
    Drive less Carpool more
    • Many aspects of our lives can be continually and incrementally improved:
      • Eat more locally
    Drive less Carpool more
    • Many aspects of our lives can be continually and incrementally improved:
      • Eat more raw
      • Eat more locally
    Drive less Carpool more
    • Many aspects of our lives can be continually and incrementally improved:
      • Recycle/reuse more
      • Eat more raw
      • Eat more locally
    Drive less Carpool more
    • Many aspects of our lives can be continually and incrementally improved:
      • Recycle/reuse more
      • Eat more raw
      • Eat more locally
    Drive less Carpool more Buy more locally
    • Many aspects of our lives can be continually and incrementally improved:
      • Recycle/reuse more
      • Eat more raw
      • Eat more locally
    Drive less Carpool more Buy more locally Buy more used (thrift stores, yard sales, antique stores…)
    • Many aspects of our lives can be continually and incrementally improved:
      • Buy less stuff overall
      • Recycle/reuse more
      • Eat more raw
      • Eat more locally
    Drive less Carpool more Buy more locally Buy more used (thrift stores, yard sales, antique stores…)
    • Many aspects of our lives can be continually and incrementally improved:
      • Buy less stuff overall
      • Recycle/reuse more
      • Eat more raw
      • Eat more locally
    Drive less Carpool more Buy more locally Buy more used (thrift stores, yard sales, antique stores…) Pass along more of your stuff to others (gift, yard sale, donate…)
    • Many aspects of our lives can be continually and incrementally improved:
      • Keep the house cooler in the winter
      • Buy less stuff overall
      • Recycle/reuse more
      • Eat more raw
      • Eat more locally
    Drive less Carpool more Buy more locally Buy more used (thrift stores, yard sales, antique stores…) Pass along more of your stuff to others (gift, yard sale, donate…)
    • Many aspects of our lives can be continually and incrementally improved:
      • Let the house be warmer in the summer
      • Keep the house cooler in the winter
      • Buy less stuff overall
      • Recycle/reuse more
      • Eat more raw
      • Eat more locally
    Drive less Carpool more Buy more locally Buy more used (thrift stores, yard sales, antique stores…) Pass along more of your stuff to others (gift, yard sale, donate…)
  • Some aspects are more challenging to improve once they are in place:
      • The size of our dwellings
    Some aspects are more challenging to improve once they are in place:
      • The size of our dwellings
    Some aspects are more challenging to improve once they are in place: determines resource consumption
      • The size of our dwellings
    Some aspects are more challenging to improve once they are in place: determines resource consumption initial
      • The size of our dwellings
    Some aspects are more challenging to improve once they are in place: determines resource consumption initial yearly
      • The size of our dwellings
      • The efficiency of our dwellings
    Some aspects are more challenging to improve once they are in place: determines resource consumption initial yearly
      • The size of our dwellings
      • The efficiency of our dwellings
    Some aspects are more challenging to improve once they are in place: determines resource consumption determines resource consumption initial yearly
      • The size of our dwellings
      • The efficiency of our dwellings
    Some aspects are more challenging to improve once they are in place: determines resource consumption initial determines resource consumption initial yearly
      • The size of our dwellings
      • The efficiency of our dwellings
    Some aspects are more challenging to improve once they are in place: determines resource consumption initial yearly determines resource consumption initial yearly
      • The size of our dwellings
      • The efficiency of our dwellings
    The location of our dwellings Some aspects are more challenging to improve once they are in place: determines resource consumption initial yearly determines resource consumption initial yearly
      • The size of our dwellings
      • The efficiency of our dwellings
    The location of our dwellings Some aspects are more challenging to improve once they are in place: determines resource consumption initial yearly determines resource consumption initial yearly determines resource consumption
      • The size of our dwellings
      • The efficiency of our dwellings
    The location of our dwellings Some aspects are more challenging to improve once they are in place: determines resource consumption initial yearly determines resource consumption initial yearly determines resource consumption initial
      • The size of our dwellings
      • The efficiency of our dwellings
    The location of our dwellings Some aspects are more challenging to improve once they are in place: determines resource consumption initial yearly determines resource consumption initial yearly determines resource consumption initial yearly
  • Try to build something that meets your sustainability goals.
  • Try to build something that meets your sustainability goals. Or build something that you can easily alter as your sustainability muscles grow.
  • (Some folks at Cobb Hill have looked into dividing their homes into two dwellings in order to halve their dwelling footprint.)
  • Have a metric for what you mean by sustainability (something like ecological footprint or something simpler)— then rate building choices using that metric. We asked our architect to minimize the number of choices being offered, but we still ended up with having to choose between lists of options (red oak, pine, maple, etc.) B
  • The houses. I’d make them smaller, simpler, with more build-ins and better sound-proofing.
        • Build small, well-designed, well-built dwellings (broom closets where likely to have brooms; washer/drier, if going to have, on same floor as clothes).
    Physical G Have a system for decision-making in place, a consistent protocol, a way to keep track of what comes up in meetings—write them down.
        • Have a clear mission that is spelled out and have people write down their interpretation of how that mission might be met (easy to assume that others have the same vision for sustainability).
        • Think about issues early, before living there (see Cobb Hill CR&A’s): pets, protocol for selling homes, protocol for profit on home sales (shared with community to support financial aid perhaps).
      • Spiritual
  • No valleys with standing seam roofs (ice dams). Discipline: stay simple , avoid angles. (We had the advice to stay simple, but we didn’t stay disciplined about it.) Watch out for where snow will go: off roofs, when plowing. Have dormers with shed roofs, not gabled Ice shears the fins of standing seam roofs “ Have a friend, JD_____, who consults for cohousing folks—could hook you up.” J
  • Garn away from houses Clear expectations around how work will be divided. K
      • Common House
          • Don’t want to take shortcuts that will have to pay for later.
          • Apartments in a separate building.
          • Want to be able to have a dance party late into the night.
          • Mortgage-ability of units.
          • We have everything in our houses—what if the houses were smaller—more reason to come to the Common House .
        • Clear expectations around being community-minded
          • Might not bother you to have stuff lying around, but might bother someone else.
          • If you break it, you fix it.
        • Work sharing—how do you equate brawn work, membership tours, making the budget, and snow shoveling?
        • Clearly articulate aesthetics ahead of time
          • Function = Beauty (ex: plastic-wrapped hay), or Flowers = Beauty?
          • Cut the grass or no?
        • Enterprises—a little weird but neat b/c people doing what want to do; could have done things more communally though.
        • P once said, “What do we need bedrooms for [in the houses]—just sleep there— could have everything in one room and have beds that pull down from the walls.”
    J
  • K Common House was going to be a one-room meeting space. Thought about townhouses—more resource efficient . Thought about one kitchen for all members —dorm-style living. Might have been good to have one house shared by three people [instead of three apartments in the Common House]. Some of the do-it-yourselfers got priced out. Might want to put a cap on the number of square feet per person --the way we did it some single people are at 400 sq ft and others are at 3000 sq ft
  • The common house and apartments, Sept 2002 N Fewer people. Cut Common House to 1/16 th the size. Cut house sizes by ½. Don’t let your founder die.
    • Enterprise thing too complicated:
      • Proceeds pay salaries of some.
      • Feels segmented b/c it is segmented.
    Try to prevent bedroom community.
  • The common house and apartments, Sept 2002 In one core thought: the thing that damned Cobb Hill was the economics—it turned out to be upper middle class lip service to simple living . J The material things got way too important , and we didn’t understand it until it was too late. I fell into it too—I wanted pretty windows—in retrospect it would have been better to have two rooms.
  • M Watch out for “feature creep” –it’ll increase your costs and you could end up living with a bunch of folks working so hard to make their mortgage payments that they don’t have time for community. Consider situating homes so they don’t “look” at each other. Community life can be intense; it’s nice to have a choice about when to have it in your viewscape. Sustainability is a journey: after every set of steps toward sustainability, you’ll likely want to take others— try to build something that can go to the next level of sustainability . Numbers of people: go smaller or bigger. We have forty adults (twenty-thee homes). We’re small enough so there’s the feeling that one ought to be able to be close with everyone, yet many of us have found it impossible to develop forty close relationships.
  • How do you define sustainability?
  • The common house and apartments, Sept 2002