Re: Re: Robs Conference Report
From: Roger Diggle (
Date: Fri, 11 Nov 94 01:49 CST
> On Tue, 18 Oct 1994, Rob Sandelin wrote:

> > 5.  If cohousing is going to grow and expand it has to be made easier.  
> > We will need to develop competent professionals to do the hard part 
> > (the land development stuff) for us and spent much more time as future 
> > residents building our personal relationships rather than being land 
> > developers. This is beginning to happen.

On 11/10/94 Mark Ottenberg wrote:

> Cohousing goups could greatly benefit from an "entity" that exists solely 
> to help with the mechanics of residential design.  This would include
> creatomg and keeping databases of suitable land, architects, financing,
> legal persons, land prep and layout contractors, persons skilled at
> zoning and other such processes, advertizing cohousing groups during 
> their various stages or growth and residence resale, etc, etc.
> So far,  there is a small amount of this going on (The Cohousing Center
> in Boston).  However, more comprehensive (non-profit??)
> organizations would  greatly aid in cohousing community design
> and allow more time for cohousing members to do the real work
> that they should be doing ...  discovering, developing, expanding,
> and living community (communitism??)

Idunno, this sounds a little too pat somehow...  "Give the development work
to the 'professionals' while we all go over here and make community.  Just
when the pro's get done with the real estate, we'll be all communified and
ready to move in."

It seems to me that, if this scenario would work, it would be possible to
create cohousing by building 'professionally designed' sites and putting up a
sign outside each one telling the possible future occupants how they're
expected to act if they decide to buy in.  I don't believe it'd work.

In my opinion, the group work of sorting out all the values and decisions
together, including many of the decisions in being land developers, will be a
major force in communification.  We as residents will feel bonded to the land
and our homes more firmly.  Some part of the group will be steeped in each of
the various issues, creating a feeling of interdependence, along with the
feeling that we better understand the mechanics of our own living situation,
and that we are using our collective intelligence.  And, to the extent we are
not forced by the Bank, all that sweat equity will save $$ that I, for one,
don't have a lot of.

Don't get me wrong...  I have no problem with using 'professional' help when
necessary, but wish to use it knowledgeably as well, which, I believe,
entails learning a great deal about the values and ideas with which said
professionals work.  I would be very wary of a 'professional' who did not ask
a cohousing group to work pretty damn hard in the decision-making and
building processes.  It seems to me that the best use of 'professionals' is
as facilitators, rather than as actual developers.

Roger Diggle

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