Re: Feedback Requested Cohousing Plan
From: Saramandaia Farm (
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2006 12:28:51 -0700 (PDT)
I don't know, Bonnie.  I've been reading the various lists and  websites and 
rules and "expectations" now for quite a while.  From  my vantage point, it 
appears that anyone joining a co-housing community  after the first wave, or 
founding group, does exactly that...joins a  community in progress, not in the 
the planning stages.  I've seen  requirements of financial solvency (of 
course), for NVC training, for  meeting attendance, for conversations with 
members, etc.  That  doesn't disqualify those communities from co-housing 
status.  I  see that the plan proposed is more rigid than some, and has clearly 
 been decided upon (hopefully tentatively) by fewer people than most  
prospective co-housers might find acceptable, but there's always the  fact of 
the difference between founders and joiners.  The latter  are more or less 
buying into a package deal...the larger the community,  in fact, the less 
impact an individual or family will probably  have...being 10% of a community
 means having more input than being 1%  of a community.  I do know that I would 
discard as a viable option  residence in some of the communities I read about 
because the rules or  expectations wouldn't be a good fit for us, and we'd have 
little  opportunity to affect them after they're in place.  Maybe it's  some 
subset of "The first duty of an institution is to perpetuate  itself."  
  I'm following with interest the development of a residential community  here 
in Costa Rica begun by partners who planned to incorporate many  energy-saving 
and otherwise ecologically positive features, only to  come up against vocal 
factions who feel the NEED for electric  dishwashers, hot-tubs, and 
washer/dryer units for each household.   It's causing some friction.  None of 
those items was originally  planned for, and, in fact, all were being 
discouraged in favor of more  community-owned and controlled amenities...not to 
mention washing  dishes by hand:)  All complicated by the fact that virtually 
every  family in this culture that can afford one has a maid.   Whee:)  I'm 
watching and , hopefully, learning.  I think that  I'm seeing some of these 
problems solved (in a way) by the fact of  people voting with dollars (or 
colones here).  People who say they  might withdraw are being accomodated 
perhaps, because they have the  money to lay out for the purchase of their
 shares and also for the  addition of any non-standard appliances.  And those 
changes are a  condition of their investment.
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