Building "community"
From: geoff mamlet (71165.2044compuserve.com)
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 94 21:24 CST
There's been some excellent and helpful discussion here since the Colorado
conference on the need for actively working to build a sense of "community"
in your cohousing group.  Taking that to heart, we raised the issue at a
recent meeting of our group, Commonweal.  (The group is still forming, with
only about 15 people at each general meeting, and we are already bidding on
land, with all the work which that requires.)  To start with, we asked the
question, "Wouldn't it be a good idea for us to talk about what 'community'
means to each of us?"  We got back a range of responses, from
 
"Great, that's *really* important to me -- it's why I'm interested in this
cohousing stuff at all!"
 
to
 
"Yeah, sounds like a good thing to do, but I have no idea how to do that."
 
to
 
"Hey, we talked about that vision stuff before -- must've been before you
came along...maybe it's ok to go back and revisit that."
 
to
 
"Should we develop a document defining what 'community' means to our group?"
 
to
 
"We don't have time; we have to work on our site plan and housing design and
marketing and ..."
 
to
 
"That may not be such a good thing to talk about.  Suppose people don't
agree on what 'community' means...that could cause problems."
[This was actually a visitor's comment but it may represent the feelings of
some members of the group.]
 
So here are our questions to all of you:
 
1)  Does this sound familiar?
2)  How have other groups dealt with members' differing levels of emphasis
    on "community" versus concrete issues (excuse the pun)?
3)  What are some resources you've found helpful for learning how to build
    community?
4)  Suggestions for exercises, New Games, fun gimmicks, etc?  (And thanks
    for that fun one from Stuart.)
 
Looking forward to some good discussion,
    Geoff Mamlet and Hannah Bloch
    Commonweal (Westborough, Mass. - we hope)


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