RE: Rhapsodizing about Retrofit (Stu)
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 08:11:11 -0600
Stu said:
As to whether it's riskier or not to try an N St style process - there
isn't a simple answer.  To my mind, it's a little less likely to lead to a
successful community, but also much less personally risky for the people
who try it.  

One thing I see happening in places, is that people get caught up in the often 
terrible development process, with its many risks, and crisis, and oh my god, 
what are we going to do now, sort of problems and they forget why they started 
on this adventure in the first place. The old, "when your up to your elbows in 
Alligators it's hard to remember your original idea was to drain the swamp" 

The glue that holds you together as a group can grow brittle and crack. I see 
way too many groups focusing exclusively on all these niddly development 
problems, and then saying....Well, we'll do that community stuff after we move 
in. We don't have time to do it now.

This is  becoming a classic cohousing mistake folks. No matter what, you 
should have, AT MINIMUM, one party a month. Just get together, drink beers, 
eat cake (not at the same time...yech....) whatever, and spend time just being 
together as people. Have a glass of water handy with the rule that at the 
monthly social event anybody that talks shop gets doused with water.

Remember your goal is to create a community, and that work, takes more than 
just creating buildings. Do maintenance on your relationships by just hanging 
out in somebodies kitchen and share your favorite story from grade school, or 
your favorite Bill Clinton joke, or some other random life thing. This social 
event will sell your community to new comers way more than any slide show, 
poster, or architectural plan. People are buying community, and sometimes, 
when groups are in development mode, new comers leave because there is no 
community visible at the stressed out meetings over development issues.

Rob Sandelin
Reeling from three parties in four days.

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