RE: Single Mothers / Proximity of HH's
From: Rob Sandelin (Exchange) (RobsanExchange.MICROSOFT.com)
Date: Thu, 29 Aug 1996 13:59:56 -0500
Fred pointed out some excellent examples of retro-fit cohousing which 
is a good way to build community where you are, with what you have at 
hand. That was my main point.  There is a very close community in 
Seattle, called the Good Enough community, that is non-residential, the 
participants are scattered all over the city and beyond, yet they have, 
as far as I can tell from being an outsider, an excellent sense of 
community, and do many cooperative things together.  They DO have a 
central meeting place, an older house in Seattle where the living room 
and basement are used for community functions.


Of course I agree living in a cohousing neighborhood is a great scene 
for both parents and kids. My point however is that you DO NOT have to 
live in a cohousing neighborhood to have this.  There seems to be this 
odd myth that the only way to get a community is to custom design a 
real estate development.  I will continue to debunk this myth. There 
are countless examples of folks who have organized from zero, a very 
active neighborhood community, right where they live.  But, it takes a 
catalyst, someone to organize and host the parties, potlucks, video 
nights, kids afternoon club, tool sharing, paint brigades, etc. =20

For people who want more of a sense of community where you live take 
the Rob Challenge. Make it happen by becoming the neighborhood 
community catalyst. Until you give it one years full effort of trying, 
don't tell me it can't possibily work.  I heard that from someone in 
the Central District of Seattle, a fairly crime ridden place with 
drugs, shootings, etc. A woman I met at a communities talk I gave was 
sure she had to move somewhere else to have a community.  I yanked this 
persons chain enough, by golly she went out door to door with a couple 
friends, passing out invites to a potluck neighborhood party. Guess 
what neighborhood now has a block watch  and a kids play day once a 
month, a video party for teens and a parent support group which 
includes a cooperative child care setup?  Sure, they don't have 
community dinners every night, but they have a lot more community than 
they did.

I hear people all the time whine about how their neighbors are all a 
bunch of old republican farts, don't know em, don't want to.  Hey, put 
on some Glen Miller at the VFW hall, bring some food and beers and you 
just watch those old republican farts create community!  And you know 
what? Some of those old guys have some great stuff they are dying to 
share, with nobody willing. This exact scene took place on Capital Hill 
in Seattle and there is now a wood working club for teenagers in the 
neighborhood, based out an old republican farts garage shop that had 
been gathering dust for 20 years. The cool, custom designed skateboards 
that come out of that shop are the talk of the area.  I could go on and 
on about stuff like this that is happening all over because people want 
community. I read somewhere that a sense of community is one of the 
primary reasons people go to church. So if you don't do church, or find 
that community not to your liking, create your own.=20

I very much beleive in the power of community. I also very much know 
you can create it where you are if you put energy into it. Custom 
cohousing developments are very nice, but they are pretty expensive 
means, both in times and in captial requirements to create something 
anybody can do who has the gumption to make it happen.  If you don't 
have the means to be a home owner in a custom designed real estate 
development, you CAN still make community happen. Its your choice.=20

Rob Sandelin
Sharingwood Community=20
Northwest Intentional Communities Association

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