Re: Cohousing Annual Report 2002
From: Raines Cohen (rc2-coho-Lraines.com)
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 2003 12:30:11 -0700 (MST)
On 1/13/03 1:24 AM, Elizabeth Stevenson <tamgoddess [at] attbi.com> wrote:

>Children's grade point averages? I can't even imagine collecting that data.
>
>Maybe I'm just being paranoid in a post-Homeland kinda way, but I think
>you're asking for too much private information.
>
>I suppose there might be groups who have the time and energy to collect
>information about all those things, but it seems unlikely to me.

Liz,

No, we don't want your kids' report cards. I think Roy was trying to 
illustrate the kinds of things that The Cohousing Network can put to use 
for the benefit of Cohousing, not provide a laundry list of "we want this 
specific stuff from every community". He just happened to include a poor 
choice/bad example.

A separate individual message is on the way to every community contact so 
they can update/correct the basic public info that already appears on the 
communities list page on www.cohousing.org and in our 
previously-published (2000) directory issue of Cohousing, our journal: 
stuff like # of units, acreage, square footage of common house, unique 
features/description, location, # of residents.

Separate from issues about this particular item, I believe the subtext of 
your concern, shared with other Coho-L readers is: Why is this 
information useful? How does it help to have it aggregated in one place 
between communities?

We're always exchanging anecdotes here on Coho-L about why cohousing is 
good for this and that, identifying benefits, swapping notes of successes 
and failures, and so on. And people looking to create, develop, or market 
their communities, get approvals or assistance for them, diversify or 
populate, are always looking for hard data -- real research, coming from 
independent sources, that they can use. In other words, the proof behind 
our daily tastes of Coho pudding.

We're not asking for your kids' report cards. But, if somebody does 
happen to have collected/aggregated this TYPE of data (look at the whole 
list, Roy was just trying to give examples from different fields) within 
your community (not per person, but summarized for the whole group) or 
compared it to similar groups outside your community, or performed a 
meaningful analysis of it, that's useful information that we'd like to 
know about, in order to:

- quantify and document benefits and costs of living in cohousing, and 
trends/issues that affect multiple communities
- catalog research that's been done and decide what's worth pursuing on a 
larger scale; make it easier for researchers (who contact us frequently, 
and who probably email your community as often as they do us, asking the 
same questions over and over again) to do one-stop shopping, actually 
asking useful new questions, and adding that data back into a pool so the 
next one won't repeat.
- Aggregate public data (like resale prices) to make it easier to find 
and compare and study.
- Employ the data to apply for and get grants
- Use the resulting attention, data and $ to help boost appraisals, get 
financing, resell units, create more cohousing, do more public and media 
education about cohousing, make it more accessible and affordable, help 
communities support one another, identify priorities for the network, and 
so on.

And in the end, isn't that what it is all about? On our per-group 
requests for info, we clearly identify what data is intended for public 
consumption vs. the network's internal use, and give communities the 
opportunity to correct the data prior to publication.

I'm excited about the upcoming publication of our directory. With your 
help (and contribution of anecdotes and data of this sort), it will 
document how far we've come and where we're going and, in doing so, serve 
the movement well in the year ahead.

Raines

Raines Cohen <my initials,2,dash,coho,dash,L at my first name .com>

  Member, Swan's Market Coho [Oakland, CA] <http://www.swansway.com/>
Where the exercise room committee just cleaned house and reorganized.

  Facilitator, East Bay Cohousing [on hiatus] <http://www.ebcoho.org/>
Where we need an umbrella group on account of the rain.

  Boardmember, The Cohousing Network <http://www.cohousing.org/>
Working on the new coho directory/annual summary.

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