From: Dahako (
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2004 17:18:41 -0700 (PDT)
Hi all-

I've somewhat accidentally joined the ranks of serial cohousers (I never 
intended to leave my first neighborhood, honest!) and now have gone through one 
development with a member-developer and one with a cohousing consultant (Ann 
Zabaldo - hi Ann!) and an experienced developer.  

In my (limited) view, the first one resulted in a community with more 
hard-fought experience with just about every aspect of building a community, 
but one 
with a lot more emotional issues left over to work through (or not) after move 
in.  The second one hasn't moved in yet, but just isn't nearly as intense, on 
the whole.  The galvanizing experience of sharing many of the risks that the 
whole thing won't happen isn't the same driving force with a consultant and 
separate developer.

Lots of the community formation has been around typical cohousing issues 
(consensus policy and special assessments, anyone?), but we've also had more 
chances to bond during consensus and facilitation training than we had time or 
resources for the first time.  As fast as we're going at Eastern Village, we're 
somehow having the chance to talk about how to handle high emotions and 
diversity before these issues get to be flashpoints.  I find myself really 
curious and 
thoughtful about how this community will meld as we go on, instead of 
experiencing melding at high intensity and only getting time to reflect on it 

Part of the difference is the size and type of the developments, too.  The 
first neighborhood was 22 households, new construction lot development, took 
multiple years of pre-development with a smaller group, and made the members 
very hard on marketing.  Lots of work and not so many hands and heads.  The 
second group is 56 households, rehabilitation of an existing urban-core 
comercial building, was only in pre-development a few months, and has almost 
people to do all the work. 

-Jessie Handforth Kome
Eastern Village Cohousing
Silver Spring, Maryland

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