The difference between community and suburbia
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Mon, 18 May 1998 21:29:25 -0500
I often open talks that I give about cohousing with a little survey, having
members in the audience raise their hands if the answer is yes. The
questions illustrate the differences community offers. This list of
questions below are similiar to the ones I use, and I think will illustrate
the differences between suburbs and community, and hopefully clear up some 
folks confusing about what community means. Note that I did not say cohousing, 
because some cohousing projects have very little community.
So I want you to think about where you sleep at night. This is home. The
people who live in the houses around you are your neighborhood.
How many of the people in your neighborhood can you name?
Of those people, how many of their relatives have you met?
How many of those people do you know their interests and hobbies, and
How many of those people do you know the stories of their growing up and
their life prior to becoming your neighbor?
How many of those people would loan you a car without you even asking when
they learned yours wasn't working?
If you needed to borrow a chop saw, would you be comfortable just walking
into a neighbors garage and getting it?
How often do you get together for dinner with your neighbors and just talk
about life?
How many of your neighbors have you partied with?
When your having a bad time at work, would your neighbors bring you flowers,
just to cheer you up?
On May day, did the kids in your neighborhood put flowers on your doorstep?
Did your neighbors remember your birthday?
If you had a huge meeting at work to go to, and your kid was sick, how many
of neighbors could you rely on to help you out by watching your sick kid?
If your 6 year old child is out of your sight playing in your neighborhood,
are you comfortable that other adults are available if your child needs
If you had chest pains, shortness of breathing, and call the ambulance at
2am, how many of your neighbors would show up, hold your hand through all
the triage tests, hold it all the way to the ambulance, ride with you to the
hospital, stand by with you through all the tests, hug when you say your
scared, then take you back home, and continue to fuss over you for weeks on 
end that you take your medication, etc.?
You get the point? There's lots more.
Rob Sandelin
Living in a community, not a development
Sharingwood Cohousing
Cedar Village Permaculture Retreat Center (forming)

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