Re:Cohousing changing over time
From: Rob Sandelin (robsanmicrosoft.com)
Date: Wed, 25 May 94 17:44 CDT
I changed the title of this thread because it seems to be different 
than the original starting point and this will help out the gopher folks maybe?

Anyway Robyn made the point about the tradition of the house setting up 
expectations of who lived there.  I think it also works the other way, 
where people who have certain community expectations search out places 
which fit those expectations the best.

Cohousing right now has certain expectations attached to it in terms of 
cooperative living.  It also has certain requirements, which are really 
stiff - e.g., having to commit enormous energy to develop real estate.  
When the requirements change, when all you have to do to  live in 
cohousing is buy a home in any number of cohousing developments, I 
believe the cooperative expectations will remain as part of the core 
definition of cohousing.

The energy people put into cooperative efforts is one way of defining 
the level of community any given cohousing development will have and 
over time the energy requirements for living in cohousing may actually 
be quite small. Those of us who have lived through the development 
process know that once you move in and live together for a year or so 
you don't need weekly meetings anymore.  The question is, will people 
who never went through that baptism of the development process, really 
commit energy into the community, or will they just find it a 
convienent place to live?

I see in my own cohousing group a real identity crisis at times. Are we 
"a community" or are we a bunch of neighbors who work cooperatively 
together?  If we are a community, then we should be working on some 
sort of goals for maximizing and deepening our relationships.  If we 
are not, then the only level of relationship we need to have is what is 
required to work together and solve our conflicts.

I see this sort of identity crisis in other groups also.  How much do 
we share with each other?  How much do we support and rely on each 
other? These are questions which define the depth of the community.  
When new members buy in who have different answers to  those sorts of 
questions it can change the direction and level of community within the 
group.  However, the foundation of cooperative living should hopefully 
be laid well enough so that it stands the test of time.

Rob Sandelin
Sharingwood

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