variety in cohousing vs stereotypes
From: Lynn Nadeau (welcomeolympus.net)
Date: Sun, 16 Jul 2006 07:46:19 -0700 (PDT)
It's wearying to hear all sorts of judgements about "cohousing is x y and z" particularly from people who do not live in it. You'd think, reading some of these posts, that cohousers were all uptight rich yuppies who banned clotheslines, domes, satellite dishes, and meat. With due respect to all who have found a good reason for one or another such choice, that's certainly not the defining feel of cohousing. RoseWind actually includes 2 homes built by Habitat, a dome, a strawbale, a cottage that is under 800 sq ft, a sattelite dish, some clotheslines, some meat and lots of other variety. If you are creating a project, you can guide it in the direction you want. I remember hearing about one that was done on some sort of recycled army base (the kitchen sounded like it was the size of a stadium!). Another includes an old convent (a very compact living arrangement, those nuns and monks). There is a trailer park in a nearby county here that is a sort of intentional community for lesbians, mostly retired. You want a certain kind of community - - create it! Some of us speak from long experience dealing with building codes, city governments, meeting burnout, etc, and are very proud of what we managed to create "anyway". And I hear just as much stereotype bandied about, about "ecovillage". Again, you can make it what you want. I hear, "if you want no rules, choose ecovillage". But you can create an ecovillage -- as we are doing in Port Townsend -- that complies with City regulations and encourages alternative building materials and is quite structured regarding our vision and principles and how we implement them--- it's not just a free for all in the woods somewhere (which can also be an attractive arrangement!). I look out my (cohousing) window and see beauty, neighbors, friends, people I help and who are glad to help me. I hear music from my neighbor's fiddle group, laughter from the kids splashing in the backyard kiddie pool next door, eat produce straight from the garden and the chicken eggs. Next door, I am part of an exciting new ecovillage project, where we have dozens of folks visiting a 4 day "Family Camp", sharing food and music, learning skills, making new friends and connections, using our cob bread oven and kid structure. Let's include all of who we are, in cohousings, ecovillages, and other intentional communities, and hold the put-downs! We can all learn from each other, and this list is a marvelous tool for just that.
Lynn Nadeau
RoseWind Cohousing, PT EcoVillage

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