Re: How Diverse is Co-Housing, Really?
Date: Tue, 4 May 93 08:12 CDT
RE: "John Ladwig" <jladwig [at]>

  However, we do not have an open-door policy on membership.  Anyone is welcome
  to express interest, but due to the nature of our consensus-based decision
  making process, we have to reach a group decision on individual applicants,
  after a formal, mentored, prospective membership process.  We haven't had to
  vote anyone down, but we have decided as a group to not recruit certain
  individuals, based on the reservations of other members.

I know that this decision has to be made on some level.  I just have
reservations about this fostering elitism.  We make decisions about who we
think are good prospects when we approach them and tell them about co-housing,
and whether or not they would be an asset to a community.

I think it is important to recruit people who are fully functional, as opposed
to people who can't make it in normal society, and who are just trying to
escape.  On the other hand, none of us are perfect, and building a community
through co-housing is a growth process.  

I guess that what I'd like to see, if we encountered someone who was really
interested, but had some problems; rather then have the attitude of 'no, you're
not welcome', say 'we appreciate your interest, but we think you have some
problems to work out *before* you can live happily in a co-housing commuity,
and we'll try to help as best we can.'  If they don't like it, or can't make
it, then they may be better off elsewhere.  I think that this can be done
during the multi-year planning phases etc.  Keep them on as 'associate
members', and see how things work out.

  Or, to use a less emotionally weighted example, should a cohousing community
  essentially be forced to accept a person who has proven to be a pedantic,
  rule-obsessed parliamentarian who regularly carries a copy of Robert's Rules
  of Order, who tends to use it to cause the most obstruction possible in
  public meetings?  

Well, the flip side of consensus from the veto aspect is that you have to use
(or not use) the 'veto' with respect.  There are times when you have to say
'look folks, can we really get on with it?  do we *really* need to get bogged
down in this?'.

There are going to be people who will not fit in, have personality conflicts,
be pedantic, etc.  If they are not going to work out in the community, then you
need to make that decision, and get on with the rest of life.

There are a lot of people out there who just need some understanding and
patience to grow.  On the other hand, if they can't acknowledge the need,
aren't willing, or are unable to, then you need to do the best you can, and get
on with your own life.


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