Re: Expanding community options
From: Rose M Brandt (
Date: Sun, 28 Jan 2007 05:46:36 -0800 (PST)
I am interested in the experiences of others who, like Shari, are
bringing together a current network of people in mostly existing urban
space. In my case, it's a network that started in several cooperative
houses in an area of Philadelphia in the '60s and '70s. We are now
thinking about co-housing. We would not be exclusive, in fact would like
it to be intergenerational and to include interests broader than those
that have kept us together over the years. I intend to check out the book
that Rob suggested, Creating Community Anywhere. I look forward to
hearing how Shari's group proceeds. Do others have suggestions for
materials to read, ideas to consider, or models we could look at?

Thanks in advance,

On Sat, 27 Jan 2007 15:42:18 -0500 "Shari Rediess"
<sredies1 [at]> writes:
> We in Rochester are exploring a sort of co-housing lite/retrofit 
> option that
> is similar to what you describe here.  We were daunted by the 
> full-fledged
> cohousing route--the complexity and cost of the whole thing.  We 
> also are
> starting with a community of friends that already exists and has 
> built trust
> over years of raising kids together, vacationing together, taking 
> care of
> each other during stress times, cooking at each others houses etc.  
> So we
> have a community but we just hate having to drive so far to see each 
> other.
> Because we are starting with a community that wants to stay 
> together, we
> don't want to lose anyone--that means that we needed flexibility to 
> consider
> different finances, different housing needs/wishes, and different 
> moving
> time-tables.  After several meetings it seemed that building one 
> place for
> all of us was untenable.  
> Now after several meetings with neighborhood/city planners, a 
> couple
> developers, and a few architects, we are moving toward cooperating 
> to
> build/rehab a common space, but buying houses individually in the 
> same
> neighborhood.  We have a neighborhood identified, have met with 
> neighborhood
> planners and real estate professionals, and even have some 
> potential
> properties identified.  The advantage to this is the group decision 
> making
> is simplified down to just the common house (rather than the whole
> development).  We are lucky that we have a neighborhood fits the 
> kind of
> characteristics that work well for retrofitting and that the 
> neighborhood
> planning group is very excited about this idea (and is working with 
> us to
> find properties). Our group has people on varying timetables for 
> moving, so
> this approach allows for flexibility.  A couple people in the group 
> want a
> bit more space than this city neighborhood offers so they may buy a 
> house a
> bit farther away, but still much closer than we all are now--and 
> they can
> still be part of the common house.  Also, as we meet new people in 
> the
> neighborhood, or if other friends decide they want to move to the
> neighborhood, we can decide how to expand membership in the common 
> house
> later on (rather than recruiting new members to fund a big 
> development). If
> it stays just us, that's fine too.
> Nothing's built yet, no one's moved yet, so I'll let you know what 
> happens.
> But right now this seems like a workable model for us.
> Shari Rediess
> Rochester NY
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Rob Sandelin [mailto:floriferous [at]] 
> Sent: Saturday, January 27, 2007 3:00 PM
> To: 'Cohousing-L'
> Subject: [C-L]_ Expanding community options
> I re-named this thread started with Robert Moskowitz observations 
> about
> community and how difficult to form  and constrained cohousing can 
> be.
> There was been an idea going on in Seattle for some time under the 
> banner of
> neighbor-nets, which was an organization, now subsumed, where people 
> met at
> local community centers in Seattle Neighborhoods and organized 
> themselves by
> interests under sort of an open space program. (Open space is a 
> facilitation
> technique where the participants design the agenda).  I attended a 
> couple of
> these as a resource person and I was impressed with  1) how simple 
> and easy
> it was to get going, and 2) the participation.  It would be easy to 
> create
> this in almost any area I would think, but it does take some upfront 
> work. 
> I also facilitated the Portland Co-Opportunities Conference which I 
> continue
> to hear about several years afterwards that it apparently kicked off 
> several
> intentional households and neighbor connections happening.
> I recall a weekly cohousing forum at a pizza place that was 
> sponsored by a
> cohousing person which created a group of people who formed a 
> community by
> simply all moving into a particular area of town and getting 
> together at
> each others houses for meals, child activities, movies, etc. 
> So yes, there is third way, (and forth and fifth and....) I believe 
> you can
> create community around you without having to become a real estate
> developer. It takes some time and facilitation skill and then 
> advertising.
> There is a book titled, creating community anywhere, which gives 
> some good
> ideas as well. 
> Rob Sandelin
> Naturalist, Writer
> The Environmental Science School
> ·..·`·...><((((º>·.. ><((((º>
> .><((((º>·.. ·`·..·`·....·`·..·`·...><((((º>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Robert Moskowitz [mailto:robert [at]] 
> Sent: Saturday, January 27, 2007 11:29 AM
> To: cohousing-l [at]
> Subject: [C-L]_ Not selecting members in a group
> OK, I know some people are going to jump down my throat for saying 
> this, but
> I've gotta say it:
> Have you ever noticed that there are 100 cohousing groups in the 
> U.S. 
> and 20 million or so non-cohousing groups? I'm talking about 
> organic
> neighborhoods and developer-constructed neighborhoods and even 
> whole
> communities (like Play Vista in L.A., near where I live).
> I've never been happy living among a bunch of strangers where 
> relationships
> may or may not develop. But I'm thinking that the heavy "group" 
> emphasis of
> current cohousing and the long-attention-span "group development 
> process"
> that seems to be a part of cohousing may be more of a burden than:
> a) most people are willing to accept, and
> b) we need to create village/neighborhoods where we feel more 
> comfortable
> than we do among total strangers.
> What I'm saying, and really asking, is: Isn't there a possibility 
> of
> developing third way between the kind of random housing choices we 
> have
> traditionally had and still have in most of America, on one hand, 
> and on the
> other hand the kind of intensive group experience most cohousing 
> seems to
> insist on? Shouldn't it be possible for me to find and move into a
> community, a village, a neighborhood, an apartment or condo 
> building, or
> whatever, where most of the inhabitants subscribe to certain shared 
> values
> (environmentalism, tolerance for others, sharing of some resources, 
> sharing
> a meal once a week or so, helping each other when asked, and so 
> forth)
> without the need for special architecture, special group processes, 
> group
> meetings, educational requirements, and other burdensome elements 
> of
> cohousing as it exists today?
> Not that I'm a big believer in markets, but clearly there are far 
> more
> people today willing to live in random housing than are willing to 
> jump
> through all the hoops to live in cohousing. From a purely practical
> perspective, if we can find a way to reduce the number of hoops, 
> mightn't we
> find more people stepping up to live in a friendlier-than-random
> environment? And if we had more people stepping up, mightn't there 
> be more
> cohousing slots than there are right now?
> Happy to hear all your thoughts on this....
> Robert Moskowitz
> Santa Monica, CA
> _________________________________________________________________
> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at: 
> _________________________________________________________________
> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at: 
> _________________________________________________________________
> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at: 

  • (no other messages in thread)

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.