Re: Urban co-housing
From: Rob Sandelin (robsanmicrosoft.com)
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 94 13:45 CDT
Another example of Urban co-housing is found in the idea of virtual 
cohousing. Some friends of mine in Seattle who live in the same area 
(actually 3 of them live in the same block and two next door to each 
other) have formed a sort of virtual cohousing group.  They share 
Dinner club, where they take turns eating at each others houses, share 
tools, a common garage workshop sort of space and a sauna.

They car pool together, help each other with projects, recreate 
together, and generally share much of their lives.  There are 11 
individuals in this group and over the summer they are going to turn 
one of the storage shed's in a sideyard into their "restraunt" add a 
recycled kitchen (the appliances and cabinets are from a remodel) and 
make it into a good place for 20 or so people to eat.  Total budget ($350).

They have a list of other friends who would like to move into the area 
and pass along info on houses for sale or rent to their friends.  
Eventually they may end up owning most of the block - but even if the 
houses are not contiguous it doesn't really matter.

I also know of a neighborhood of complete strangers (as many 
neighborhoods are these days)  who by virtue of having one burning soul 
organizer have organized tool sharing, ride sharing, child care coop 
and Friday evening potluck theme socials.  I heard that a day time 
burglar tried to rip off one of the houses and 7 neighbors called the 
cops.  I visited one of their potlucks and although the level of 
commitment was not as high as a cohousing groups, they all were very 
satisfied and extremely grateful to the individual who got the whole 
thing organized.

The lesson in all this, and widely repeated in Creating Community 
Anywhere, is that all it takes is one person to "communitize" a 
neighborhood.  People everywhere seem to want more connection to each 
other, they just have forgotten how to do it, or have become afraid.  
Just about anything that is done in a cohousing neighborhood can be 
replicated in most any neighborhood around, all it takes is one or two 
people to get it going.  Maybe you could be one of those people in your 
neighborhood?

Rob Sandelin
Puget Sound Cohousing Network
Building a better society, one neighborhood at a time

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