|the "early years"||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Blaise J. Tobia (tobiabjdunx1.ocs.drexel.edu)|
|Date: Thu, 26 Oct 1995 11:45:36 -0500|
Some of the posts by the Broward Commons group and the Cantines Island group, about the difficulties related to small group size, and the tension between group-building and site identification, resonate with me because of the experiences of our own fledgling core groups in the Philadelphia area. We watched one group grow to considerable size primarily because of the attractiveness of their site (many of the benefits of a suburban/rural site, but quite close-in within the city) only to fragment when the site could not be obtained. My own retrofit-interested core group is probably going to lose a wonderful, and relatively cheap, urban site practically ready-to-go for a group of fifteen households because we haven't been able to grow to our self-imposed minimum committed membership of ten households, despite more than a year of trying. Another core group has reformed after their initial site was sold (and after their leader, a visionary architect, got ill and died). They are struggling to reach a critical mass. When a group is small, all of the various dynamics become amplified. Depression can spread to everyone almost immediately, sapping energy. One disruptive or problematic member can split the already too-small group even further, or hinder recruitment. As others have said, and I have said as well, Philadelphia seems like a particularly difficult "market" for cohousing, for a number of reasons. Apparently Broward County and upstate N.Y. may be similar places. Is it actually different on the West Coast, or in New England? Did early meetings in these places bring out dozens (if not hundreds) or people? Were successful groups able to move into double-digit membership relatively quickly? Have any still-existing (and currently growing or succesfully moved-in) groups gone through a fairly long period of stasis before catching on? Has there been an imbalance in terms of a high proportion of older, single people being interested, and a scarcity of families with children (such as is our experience)? I hope that some list members will share their experiences of the "early days" (which I would define as prior to having ten committed households). It would be of great help to us. ============================================================================= Blaise Tobia Philadelphia, PA 215-387-9706 tobiabj [at] post.drexel.edu ============================================================================= - artist/photographer/teacher (at Drexel University's College of Design Arts) - interested in CoHousing personally, politically and artistically - serving as contact person for the Delaware Valley CoHousing Association, an umbrella group encompassing several potential site-development projects: one, urban-retrofit (Germantown/Mt. Airy) three, new-construction ( Lambertville, still in early stage; Shawmont and Ambler, still just good ideas) =============================================================================
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