Re: Re: Robs Conference Report
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Sat, 12 Nov 94 15:26 CST
Roger Diggle Wrote:
 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.

The next generation of cohousers, my children, will not create 
anything, they will buy existing.  If  the way community is built is 
you have to go through the building process, then everyone who comes in 
later, who just buys an existing  home, is not going to be part of the 

While I agree that what Roger has said is a benefit to those who do the 
building, I disagree that it is a requirement, or even a necessary part 
of being a community.  I have argued this point before, that community 
is not in the buildings, it is in the people and their relationships.  
I know of a dozen existing intentional communities where their is a 
huge feeling of community, and not a single one of the residents were 
involved in the construction.  IMO the expectation for  and history of 
community is what is going to keep things happening.  If people have 
the expectation and desire for community, they will do amazing things 
not because they have to, but because they want to.

The current paradigm of cohousing as  real estate development is 
something people have to do, because they want something really badly: 
community.  Real estate development is NOT a requirement of community, 
you can have lots of community with out living together (Read: Creating 
Community Anywhere by Carolyn Shaffer).  I very much believe that it is 
 better for a forming group to work on group issues (decisions making, 
getting to know and trust each other, conflict strategies, etc.) and 
let professionals deal with finding land, getting rezones, etc.

The biggest barrier to cohousing as I see it is that is just takes too 
much effort and too long to accomplish.  Cohousing? oh yeah, I heard 
about that - it takes 4 years of meetings to get a house.....No thanks.

I think over time we will get a lot smarter about using and growing 
professionals to do the stuff they should do, and have groups of future 
residents working on goals, visions, group process and bonding.  If 
those things are going along on parallel tracks, a cohousing project 
can be done much faster and easier.

The first cars took thousands of hours to design and  build. This is 
true of most prototypes.  The first 50 cohousing groups in America are 
prototypes, we will get better, more efficient, and smarter about how 
to create them in the future. We have to if Cohousing is to continue.

Rob Sandelin

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