RE: Cohousing, Communes, Community--Not for Profit! Please
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Tue, 24 May 94 18:31 CDT
Stuart, you say

>The kind of nightmare I envisage is a speculative developer builds a
>"cohousing" community, complete with common house, community kitchen,
>appropriately small houses.  Maybe he even sets up bylaws dictating that
>the decision making procedure be by consensus.  Everybody who buys a
>house in the development owns part of the CH.  The developer advertises
>the wonders of cohousing in the local media and manages to sell all the
>lots to interested people who don't know each other.  Everybody moves

Isn't this exactly what is going to happen to current existing 
cohousing groups 20-30 years from now when all us founders are moved 
out or dead?  If you set the expectations and the processes up now 
there is no guarantee of its continuance in the future. The same could 
be said for having developer designed and built cohousing, there is 
nothing to ensure it will create community or not, only the 
expectations and intentions of the people who live there. Isn't setting 
expectations precisely what advertising does?  If people see the safe 
happy kids playing it sets their expectations.  This is exactly what 
the cohousing book did for me, it set my expectations higher than the 
normal housing paradigm.

If the only way to build a community is to go through the whole process 
of land development then cohousing has no sustainable future as a 
community endeavor. As people move in who did not go through that 
process they will overtake the people who did and eventually replace 
them.  I think it is the expectations and intentions of the people, 
aided by the structures and processes which sustain and build the 
community, no matter who builds or develops the site.  If the people 
who come to live there, have the expectations set to live 
cooperatively, and it is their intention to do so, they will make an 
honest effort to succeed.  If there is guidance along the way, 
especially gentle hints and training in cooperative ways of being, the 
possibilities of success are raised. Granted those of us who went 
through, are going through the trenches of creating these developments 
are learning under fire how to communicate our issues and work 
together.  It is our way as pioneers to do so and to teach these things 
to the settlers who come after us.

I have also said this before: Community is not a destination, it is a 
journey.  You never really arrive at community and only when you leave 
the journey do you understand what it was you experienced.

I really wish that you and I and jean and some of the other folks that 
have been having this discussion could hang out at my house (or yours) 
and shoot the breeze over a couple of beers or cups of tea.  I guess 
this is the next best thing but.....


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