Re: food for thought
From: Graham Meltzer (
Date: Thu, 22 Jul 1999 16:48:45 -0500
I agree with Robert Lane; that a quiet social discontent and disconnection
has fed the exaggerated public mourning for Princess Diana and John Kennedy
Jnr.  A different parallel has recently been drawn by Ed Ayers, the editor
of World Watch magazine.  In a piece titled 'Notown', he said that the claim
following the Columbine killings, that "the community" of Littleton was
devastated and would "pull together in its grief" was a farce.  In fact the
'community' in which Harris and Klebold lived was not a community at all -
quite the opposite.  He cited a writer for the Washington Post who had
grown up there and who had written after that event ... "it was a place
where tracts of new houses had been put down on the edge of a prairie and
then occupied by people who had come from somewhere else and knew nothing
about either the prairie or the people who lived next to them.  Children
rarely played outside on the street ... there was no pool, no ice rink, no
town square in the area around Columbine".  Ayres goes on to suggest that
Littleton had no LIFE - "no shared experience of the kind that makes
neighbours and friends and communities".  He ends the article by noting the
presence in Littleton of a cohousing community (Greyrock Commons) and "how
different a version of Littleton this must be from the one where Eric Harris
and Dylan Klebold lived".

The piece by Ayres is an introduction to a much longer article titled 'Why
Share?' by Gary Gardiner, a senior researcher at the Worldwatch Institute.
Part of the article is about cohousing.  It's a damned good article that
draws connections between the dominant attributes of our 'society' -
individualism, materialism, consumerism, obsession with privacy etc. - and
its underlying social malaise and disfunction.  I commend the article and
the journal itself to the folk on this listserve.  I'm sure it will be of
interest to many cohousers, and those who like to archive articles about
cohousing.  I believe World Watch is available in good newsagents near you -
but I'm not sure.  Otherwise you can email wwpub [at] for copies.

Best wishes to my friends in the US.  

Graham Meltzer

Lecturer (Architectural Design and Social Ecology)
School of Architecture, Interior and Industrial Design
Queensland University of Technology, 
GPO Box 2434, Brisbane, Australia 4001.

Tel:(617)38642535(w)  Fax:(617)38641528

Web site about cohousing research and education:  

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