|encouraging families with kids--simplify||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Steve Farley (sfarleyigc.apc.org)|
|Date: Tue, 19 Nov 1996 20:46:56 -0600|
Denise Cote, of Geneva Community, Lyons, CO wrote: >We have this situation now at Geneva and we're wondering what to do. One >of the problems seems to be that families with children require more >certainty about the outcome before they can invest time and money. Any >suggestions? Yes, I do have a suggestion. It may seem a radical one, but it is one which we at the Tucson Neighborhood Development Corporation are pursuing, at least in part because our core membership contains three families with children. We have decided to remove the risk and uncertainty which turns families off by finding a developer who is willing to take on the risk, and we are willing to surrender a fairly large amount of control to do this. Most cohousing communities in the US have depended on large amounts of cash at high amounts of risk early in the process. Some have gotten lucky and had a wealthy benefactor in their midst; others have bitten the bullet and hocked all they had to make it work. We have no rich angel, nor can we afford that risk, as families cost a lot of money to run, and need a lot of time to work well, and we have to be thinking of saving for big things like higher education. So we have sought out compatible developers, and have had some success. They are out there, it just takes some poking around and some luck, and a high public profile on the part of our group. I believe it is partly because of this new direction that we have not had problems finding families with kids, a problem that seems to be reaching a crisis point with many other groups. I also believe that this movement is more likely to become widepread if we are able to find more developers to take the risk from us, thus making cohousing a direct and viable competitor to your typical new housing developments. We do not need the level of control we often demand, and probably wouldn't even be able to afford it if we could get it. And as Chris Hanson pointed out so articulately in his keynote address to the RMCA conference last weekend, control is ultimately an illusion. What we want is simple: an easier way to form a community with your neighbors. There are many other aspects to cohousing, but they are ultimately secondary to that primary goal. I believe we have been making it way too hard on ourselves, and particularly on families with kids, by trying to do too much with too little. What we want is community; everything else will follow in time. This movement is riding a major wave into the consciousness of this country, and I think we can build physical community much more easily with the help of sympathetic developers who are willing to take the risk. I encourage all of us to look for candidates in our own communities--it will make things easier on us, and will put this movement into high gear nationwide. And we'll have a much easier time keeping families with kids. Steve Farley Tucson Neighborhood Development Corporation, Tucson, AZ 27 households with 36 adults and 11 kids extremely close to controlling a fabulous site in downtown Tucson http://www.igc.apc.org/tndc/
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