|RE: On being too close for comfort||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Rob Sandelin (Floriferousclassic.msn.com)|
|Date: Mon, 18 May 1998 00:33:31 -0500|
Cohousing uses a group collarborative process, and to succeed requires a great deal of group cohesion and trust amoung the members of the group. In my experience, if you do not build this trust and cohesion, your group will not succeed. There comes a point where people will have to put up thousands and thousands of dollars of totally at risk money. In the groups that fail, sometimes it is because they have no faith or trust in each other, or not enough to risk huge amounts of capital. The group typically then dissolves. This has occured dozens and dozens of times, all across America. Basically as soon as a site is found, and the project is about to move from the intellectual discussion stage to the practical stage, the group falls apart from lack of capital. There are at least twice as many failed groups as successful groups. In my neck of the woods, the ratio is three to one. For every built cohousing project, there are 3 dissolved groups. Groups fail for many reasons, but a very common one is lack of commitment and trust. I have personally watched local groups fall apart because of poor meetings, bad dynamics, and unrealistic expectations. A woman I know who could have personally bought a particular site herself, left a local group because she did not feel any sense of community amoung the participants. You need excellent interpersonal communication skills, outstanding listening skills, and also need to understand yourself, other people, and group dynamics. Sound complex? Yep. Nobody teaches Americans how to collaborate in a group. Most groups that last more than a year either get a member who is savy, or they find some training. You don't get far without a pretty good ability to make decisions with integrity. If you bulldoze people, they usually just leave, and when that happens over and over again, eventually there is no one left. If you have no one in your group to shephard peoples feelings, and all you do is business meetings, your chances of successfully getting a project build are low. Business meetings do not build trust in and of themselves. You need something more. Something deeper to build bonds between people and to the community vision. So decide what you want and why you want to be living in an intentional community and then look at what it will take for a group to pull that off. You might examine some successful communities and find out about their celebrations, rituals and how they build relationships. You might come to the same conclusions I have. Or then again, maybe not. There are folks who claim that any old developer, if given the right architecture can create a vibrant community. I personally don't beleive this at all, but thats my bias. Community is delibrate and intentional, otherwise its fake window dressing, something to fool the masses who don't know any better. Rob Sandelin Sharingwood
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