sweat equity; trust and community
From: School of Mathematics, U of MN (depts5.math.umn.edu)
Date: Thu, 11 Aug 94 15:34 CDT
Rob Sandelin made a good point in his message of Aug. 11:  

to what degree is cohousing a "more practical and convenient living 
arrangement" and to what degree, if any, is it a community if a 
true community is defined by the level of personal sacrifice they are 
willing to make for the common good.

We have heard stories in recent days about "sweat equity" and there were 
echoes saying the experience of hard feelings and negative effects on the 
group is familiar.  I have never experienced true community where people 
were willing to do without asking an comparable share of others.  From what 
I have seen of human nature, it would be a stretch.  If this kind of 
community is not a dream, I would love to find it.  My own experience tells 
me that cohousing-- with all its difficulties and imperfections-- is a 
great improvement over what's normally out there.  I come from a 
neighbourhood where the bylaws/house rules did not allow you to talk to 
your neighbour if they had the stereo on too loud. I cannot conceive of the 
residents getting together and coming to an agreement using consensus.  
They'd be in this meeting till next Christmas.  

For me, Rob's ideal community is a goal which a cohousing community might 
or might not reach.  In the meantime, the journey to the goal is worthwhile 
too.  And we all need that lantern to point the way (thank you, Rob).  One 
more thing:  cohousing communities in Denmark and other places in Europe, 
how are they doing with these problems?

Monika Stumpf, Monterey CoHousing-Mpls, dept [at] math.umn.edu

I don't mean to

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