Re: Culture
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


  • Culture William Johnson, June 21 1994
    • Culture Jerry Callen, June 21 1994
    • RE: Culture Rob Sandelin, June 22 1994
    • Re: Culture Lynne Farnum, June 22 1994
    • Re: Culture William Maynard, June 22 1994

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