|Re: amount of rules||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Buzz Burrell (72253.2101CompuServe.COM)|
|Date: Mon, 29 Jul 1996 09:26:57 -0500|
Brian Sullivan wrote (in part): >I found Rob's letter and others in this area very thought provoking. And >the basic thought provoked was..".How few rules are needed for a co-housing >community to exist?" > >(parts snipped) But are they needed for the basic concept of cohousing?? To me, it seems >the basic legal and financial responsibilites of a cohousing community must >obviously be clearly spelled out and adhered to (just like a condo >association.) Next level would require participation in meeting and >running the place,,,again like a condo association. The next level of >agreements come to the community sharing of diners, the common house, and >other shared functions like a childcare group. > >But as hard as I think, I can't see the need for any other rules.... > First of all, the rules Brian outlined: Fiscal/Financial; Condo Association; Community Agreements; ARE the only rules in most groups. The only difference is that some communities become more extensive by adding agreements into those same 3 catagories Brian mentioned. Thus, a pet rule is simply another Community Agreement. That having been said, he raises an interesting point that we've been thinking of recently ourselves. Why bother with rules at all? In our group, there is a 4th catagory of rules that was done before the 3 mentioned above, and which is clearly more important: Mission Statement & Agreements. These are read aloud before every meeting. Theoretically, it would be possible to have the community function with no other rules besides these basic agreements, which are utterly non-specific, and just describe how we want to BE. Theoretically, everything else is just a detail and could be worked out on the spot by following our primary Mission Statement and Agreements. In practice however, this would be very challenging, so we have a few corporate By-Laws, some community agreements (such as how we make decisions, how to join, etc), and some Covenants. As it happens, the creation of these agreements is more important than the agreement itself. Can you guess why? Its because the process of creating the agreement generates knowledge, understanding, and true consensus, which is the most important stuff. After that, we tend to forget what we agreed upon, and it works out fine, because the important part was accomplished. There exists, as usual, a range of style on this subject of rules. Some people feel more comfortable with more, some with less. There is no way in the world one way is better than the other objectively speaking, but it certainly may be for an individual. Thus, each community needs to not make too many assumptions on this subject, and find their own place on the spectrum. Also as usual, I feel that a strong of commonality, achieved through whatever means (like a Mission Statement), is the great stabilizing force in which ever direction the community moves. Lastly, when we are creating some new rule, I like to think, if just briefly, in these terms: "What's the point, why are we doing this? Are we creating more fear, or more freedom?" A good rule (it often helps to call it an "agreement"), sets us free, not the other way around. Buzz Burrell * buzz [at] diac.com * Boulder, CO Geneva Cohousing Community - 176 acres north of Lyons, CO Bolder Building - solar adobe house (finished) in Paonia Colorado Friends of Tibet - hosting the Dalai Lama in 1997
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