Re: A cohousing consultant and workshop
From: Elise Matthesen (EMATTHESENMADMAX.MPR.ORG)
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 93 13:28 CST
Perhaps I'm mistaken, but at least in the Scandianvian communities
where the idea began, affordability *is* important.

I can and do build community even in separated living situations;
it would be even better to build to support rather than impede the
sharing and flow that we desire.  Cohousing should fit out lives,
we believe; perhaps this is naivete.  But since we don't buy cars we
can't afford, or run up bills for fancy stuff to impress the neighbors,
or take lovers whose approaches to ethics and the like would cost us
too much in self-respect and other things, and since this works
pretty well, I guess I don't see why cohousing should be where we make
an exception.  

As always, there are different levels of commitment to *being* financially
able to do it, but I've gotten turned off by a certain "smoothie" sort
of approach.  Looks alarming, sometimes.  I'm all for clumping together
with folks who want to move forward, but I don't think that "why should
affordability be important?" bodes well for the other issues.  I mean,
will the word "accessibility" be substituted next?  Is my friend who
cannot climb those stairs expendable?  

I don't mean to dump a buncha negatives in here.  I admit I'm a bit
sad about some learning experiences (heh) around individual and group
readiness to choose and decide and make things happen, and my partner
and I and our housemate are currently investigating other possibilities.
I welcome a hard-nosed practical approach; perhaps that comes from being
raised in a blue-collar environment.

End rant, and I hope I haven't grossly insulted anybody.  I know that
we've all got different priorities.  It's just that this darned
stubborn Danish-American believes that there's something in
Scandinavian cohousing that we would do well to take a hard look
at; I fear it makes us look, rather deservedly, at the weird ways
Americans act around class and money issues, and wince.

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