Small Cohousing Groups
From: Diane Simpson (
Date: Fri, 16 May 1997 22:12:59 -0500
>As usual, I am making a point by overstating reality. But these are issues
>that I feel exist in Muir Commons to a greater or lesser extent, and I
>imagine that other co housing communities of a similar size have similar
>issues. I know that I feel inhibited about talking about "problems" in my
>community here, but they do exist and I would like to see us talking about
>more than just the sweetness and light that also exists.
   + = + = + = + + = + = + = + + = + = + = + + = + = + = + + = + = + = +

I agree with Ann (even though I do not live in a cohousing community) in
that I would like to see more on the list about human dynamics and how
people solved problems that came up in their groups. I received an
excellent education on that when I went out to N-Street cohousing and had a
two-hour chat with one of the residents, and again when I attended Jerry
Koch-Gonzalez's workshop this past March, but people on the list seem
reluctant to discuss intra-group problems. Maybe they're afraid they'll
offend other people in the group, I don't know.

As for my own group, well, we're still in the interest-group phase. I am
hoping we will get to the action-group phase by this spring, and then move
on to the core group phase. But, that may be overly optimistic, seeing as
we do not have any member-professionals in our current group. We're all
just regular laypeople and some of us are feeling overwhelmed by the whole
daunting process. I am not giving up, however--I pull out Rob Sandelin's
letter every once in awhile and re-read it. It has become evident to me
that I am going to have to do an enormous amount of outreach to try to get
just a couple of serious people, so I'm using all possible avenues to do
that. I managed to get cohousing incorporated into the Boston Society of
Architects' plan for the redevelopment of Washington Street in Boston, and
my name is in there as a contact, so that's a start. I also had a table at
the "Wake Up the Earth" festival (our annual spring ritual in JP) and that
let quite a few more people know that we're out here.

What I wish existed was a little pocket guide about "forming a core group."
(Maybe Joani will write it when she writes her cohousing pamphlet series
<g>) Last year our group thought it was a core group when it wasn't, and
that led to a lot of difficulties. As I look back I can see that the
difficulties were caused by not having a good understanding of each others'
expectations and goals before embarking on the whole process. Also, not
having a good understanding of what phase we were in led to a lot of
misdirected effort. It's silly to divide up into committees if people
aren't really ready to take on tasks.

Well, that's all the news I have from the cohousing front in Jamaica Plain,
where we keep on truckin'--meeting the third Sunday of the month at the
Bowditch lodging house--this Sunday I'll be doing a slide presentation at
4 p.m. and the potluck supper will be at 5.

Ciao for now....


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      @@@@        Diane Simpson      @@@@
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