Elastic membership circles (was Through the looking glasses?)
From: Unnat (Zeniinet.net.au)
Date: Sat, 29 Jan 2000 19:25:22 -0700 (MST)
Yay Two Acre Wood!

Pinakarri is first and foremost an intentional community, even if we're
not 100% agreed on our intention ( mission/vision - work in progress).
Originally, the cohousing was to create a physical focus for a broad and
evolving, furry edged community.  This means that there are less houses
than there are members.

So we have members who are: equity and non-equity residents in the coho;
live opposite and (soon) next door;  live or will be living nearby, in
rental or own housing;  live further away and visit from time to time.
Community fees are paid monthly;  these members have a key to the common
house and are expected to take responsibilty for the management and
development of the community and the housing.
There is an optional smaller annual subscription for the long distance
people who aren't here often but want a home away from home - these
people tend to be long-term members whose circumstances have moved them

We have prospective members, most of whom are interested in renting
houses if and when available. These people are encouraged to become
involved as much as they wish as a means of familiarising themselves
with the community, culture, expectations, philosophy and processes.
Fees are under discussion: some favour a 'make them pay, we had to, and
we did all the work'!  Other's favour a 'c'est la vie, self-selective,
at your own pace, contributions as necessary' (eg childcare and other
one-off expenses).  If and when they become members, the fee commitment
increases along with rights and responsibilities.

We also have friends, family and neighbours who through association
enjoy what we're doing.  These people visit their familiars, come to our
monthly 'open house' shared dinner and other social occasions.
Occasional contribution as relevant (eg, do you want to chip in for ...)
and magic hat (donations always accepted).

As time goes by, I find myself more and more leary of the 'membership'
concept which I accept only as defining commitment.  I'm saddened when I
see it used as a measure of exclusivity ( eg, 'he/she's not like us'  -
what does that mean?)  I like the approach - I believe I read it on this
list - given all the information (mission, goals, expectations,
constraints, etc) and opportunity for connecting and familiarisation,
then,  "Why shouldn't this person be a member of this community?"

I'm happy to answer specific questions as this will help our own process
of clarification.  Is this a discussion for this list?  Otherwise, send
to me personally and I'll collate any relevant items and post to the

Robyn Williams
Pinakarri Community
Fremantle, Western Australia

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