|Re: Culture||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Lynne Farnum (lfburrhus.harvard.edu)|
|Date: Wed, 22 Jun 94 12:08 CDT|
William Johnson asked: "Does a CoHousing community also provide support for the growth of a shared culture which would otherwise struggle in discord with the larger culture?" I certainly hope so! But since I am still working toward a cohousing community, rather than living in one, I can't speak from experience. On second thought, I CAN speak from experience -- that of being a member of Rose Tree for a year and a half -- even though we don't have a built community yet. We do have a shared culture, focusing on cooperation, concensus decision making, mutual respect, and consideration of each member's needs. The group has been very supportive and accommodating of each other as people have gone through personal challenges like pregnancy, the demands of parenthood, job hunting, medical problems, and so forth. I don't think of these values as being "in discord with the larger culture", though they may be given short shrift due to the reverence for material possessions, career success, and personal fulfillment at any cost. Nearly everyone to whom I have talked about cohousing expresses such longing to live in a neighborhood where people know and trust each other, where children are valued and protected, where you don't have to drive across town to find a friend to talk to. I think many Americans regret the loss of cohesive communities that has occurred in the last generation, but they may think it is inevitable. Cohousers think it doesn't have to be. We think we can build close-knit, supportive communities -- not because we're so superior to people in the big bad dominant culture, but because the physical layout, common facilities, self-governing process, and mutually agreed upon values of a cohousing community make it much easier for people to behave in positive ways toward each other. They foster cooperation and offer mechanisms for dealing with conflict. In an environment where people feel emotionally and physically safe, I think the best side of human nature will be nurtured. Lynne Farnum Rose Tree Cohousing Groton, Massachusetts
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