"New World Utopias" & cohousing
From: Mmariner (Mmarineraol.com)
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 1996 00:42:48 -0600
People who've been reading this list for awhile might remember in the past
I've been one to advocate extending the cohousing concept to include things
like cooperative businesses, artistic collaborations, creating a neighborhood
culture on various levels.

Well, I just came across something that made me appreciate cohousing's
tendency to avoid ideology and just build a residential neighborhood that
fosters more connectedness than the average suburb or condo complex: 

The "something" is this amazing book called "New World Utopias" by Paul Kagan
I found in a used book store over the holidays.  It chronicles the histories
of many unusual communes and  communities in America mostly in the 19th
century and early 20th century.  Some person would postulate a theory in a
book, somebody would pitch in some money, they'd buy land and go try to live
according to the person's ideosyncratic ideas.  Since it's pretty rare for a
single ideologue to design a balanced lifestyle for a community, most of them
dissolved after just a few years.

On the one hand, I honor anybody's right to try something different, no
matter how ill-conceived or imbalanced it might seemed, long as it doesn't
hurt/enslave people.  On the other hand, it's much more pragmatic to simply
build the physical setting (the stage, the playpen, whatever), move in and
see what happens.

When I'm a community doer instead of a wannabe, I still plan to push to
collectively create a neighborhood culture.  

Related trivia contest:  what famous person said:  "Ah that a man's reach
should exceed his grasp or what's a heaven for?"  

Mike M
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