Re: Re: more perspective on rules and regs
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Wed, 19 Apr 2006 09:06:54 -0700 (PDT)
A few days ago there was a wonderful message about the difference between the tenor of a cohousing community during formation vs after move in. I couldn't find it in the archives so I may paraphrase badly.

The poster pointed out that during formation there is a clear goal and structured requirements for participation. Deadlines. Decisions, etc. The group is focused and "together."

After move-in, the community is much more relaxed and people just want to live and "have fun". Relax and be nice.

People who thrived on the first phase do not necessarily like the second and those who could hardly stand the first phase love the second.

I agree wholeheartedly with this description but would like to have more of a combination of the two after move-in.

I was unhappily surprised how many people I ended up living in community with who had no knowledge of cohousing or of its goals when they moved in. I was expecting all the residents to be like the people on this list -- people who were actively involved in figuring out community, group living, workable ecological standards, good collective management practices, etc. Not a group that agrees on any of these issues but a group that was actively focussed on addressing them.

Instead only a few people even knew this list existed or had ever read ANY of the cohousing books. By a few I mean a good bit less than 10%.

They joined because they liked the one paragraph explanation they saw on the flyer, or liked a person they knew who was signing on, or because it was something new and affordable. They had no idea how much work it would be. No idea how much time would be required. And, to my surprise, also had no goals for being or becoming an exemplary cohousing community. Being clear about policies and who is responsible for what, is just too much trouble to think about if it takes more than one or two meetings.

As a goal driven person, this drives me nuts. That doesn't mean it isn't a good community or doesn't function perfectly well for the majority of the people who live here, it just means my personal goals have to be met elsewhere.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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