RE: Build it and they will come?
From: Rob Sandelin (Exchange) (
Date: Wed, 17 Jan 1996 17:33:39 -0600
One of the difficulties of "selling" cohousing before units are built and
functioning, is that there is nothing concrete that people can experience. 
We invite folks to community dinner, and if past response is indicative,
once they experience that, if they are going to be hooked, they are.  Then
of course all the filters begin to apply: Can I afford it, is this a good
location, what about the schools, etc.

I would imagine, without having something more concrete than plans, how
would you know if this lifestyle change felt right?  I think the notion that
once people EXPERIENCE a flavor of community, they are attracted, and thus
the notion, build it and they will come is true, but you don't really get to
experience that until you've lived together for a year or so, then the
abstract notion of community becomes reality.

We have lots of people who are very attracted to our community, but the
filters are too hard to get through.  We are way far away, in terms of
commutability from the major Urban scene, and its expensive to buy into
Sharingwood.  Our Rental units are gone before they are even built, but we
have had no real bites on the big house or the lot currently for sale.

Last year a couple of people who were somewhat skeptical about cohousing
made a major life shift, by participating in some of the rituals of our
community and getting hooked. One now lives with us, the other is forming
their own group in a more urban location.  

I would encourage forming groups to create a weekly community meal, a
potluck at least, in order to get a real sense of the flavor of the role of
meals in community, and to set up real life, NOT A MEETING, community
building adventures so people can experience what community means directly.
If all your community experience is now is meetings, meetings and more
meetings......YUCK!!!!!!!  Run away....Run away.....  :-}
Spend time around a community meal just talking about where you grew up, the
days news, what's happening at work, whatever.  That's the hook that will
grab those who thirst for community. And of course, be sure to invite
prospects to the meals.

Rob Sandelin

>    The Cohousing book says that for every one person that wants to plan a
>    cohousing community, there are ten who want to live in one.  Have those
>    of
>    you who are now living in cohousing found this to be true?
>    At Valley Oaks Village, we are five months away from completion and
>    there
>    are still seven units available.  We have had a plateau of members for
>    about
>    a year.
>    Any ideas would be useful.  Thanks in advance for your comments.
>    Glen Orcutt
>    Valley Oaks Village
>    Chico, CA

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