|Re: the politics of co-housing||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Lynne Farnum (lfburrhus.harvard.edu)|
|Date: Wed, 16 Mar 94 12:52 CST|
On what basis do you make the assumption that "having values" conflicts with making decisions by consensus? It's quite the opposite: people who share some basic values will have a much better chance of succeeding with consensus. People whose values are polar opposites will probably not succeed. You are right that people in the cohousing movement seem to share some common values. This should not be surprising -- what would be the point of doing all the work of building an intentional community, if you had nothing in common with the other residents? It would be no different than buying a regular house in the suburbs and getting your neighbors by chance. Cohousing is NOT just a bunch of people building houses with common land, shared resources, and a few meals. That would be a condo development with a kitchen. Cohousing IS a bunch of people with a commitment to the importance of community, who want more connection with their neighbors than standard American housing provides, who would like an "extended family" of friends of all ages, for both adults and children. One of the values shared by all the cohousing groups I know of is a desire relate to other people in a cooperative rather than adversarial way. Getting what I want does not have to mean depriving someone else; it is usually possible to come to a solution that satisfies both. Since joining a cohousing group a year ago, I have been deeply impressed by how well consensus can work, even on difficult issues. It does require that the participants respect each other's opinions and feelings, and that they care more about a mutually satisfactory outcome than they do about "winning". Other values typically espoused by cohousers include placing a very high importance on the family (where a family is not necessarily a husband, wife, and 2.4 children); a desire to put down deep roots in a neighborhood and in the surrounding town; and diversity of age, race/ethnic background, religion, income, and sexual orientation in the community. I think it unlikely that a group which articulated these values at its founding would later find them in conflict with its wishes. If turnover gradually resulted in a membership that sought to undermine family relationships, favor transience over commitment to the community, and exclude people for their race or religion, I would say that the cohousing community had effectively been erased. If sharing values makes cohousing "political" by your definition, then I guess it is. Without values it would be pointless. Lynne Farnum Rose Tree Cohousing
- the politics of co-housing Wm Leler, March 14 1994
- re:the politics of co-housing Pablo Halpern, March 18 1994
- RE: re:the politics of co-housing Rob Sandelin, March 18 1994
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