|Seeking advice for cohousing founder in England||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Diana Leafe Christian (dianaic.org)|
|Date: Tue, 9 Jun 2009 04:22:44 -0700 (PDT)|
Alan Heeks of Threshold Centre Cohousing in England emailed this question to Chris Roth, new editor of Communities magazine. I thought Coho-L readers might be able to help Alan with this.
Diana Diana Leafe Christian Dear Chris, I have been a subscriber to Communities Magazine for several years, and find it extremely helpful in many ways. I have become one of the pioneers of cohousing in the UK, and am writing to ask if you can help me with some relevant experience or contacts on one question we have recently encountered. Nearly five years ago, I initiated a small cohousing community, where I have been living since then: this is the Threshold Centre in Dorset, which is unique in the UK in offering regular workshops on cohousing, and also unique in being the first UK cohousing group to partner with a housing association offering 50% of the units for low-income households. I am now involved with a new group, seeking to create a cohousing community of around 30 homes in the south west of England: if you want to see more, visit www.dorscoh.org.uk <http://www.dorscoh.org.uk>. I have used my extensive experience of what to do, and what not to do, for this new group, and the prospects of success are looking very promising. We have hit an issue which seems to me quite predictable for many cohousing groups, but I have not been able to find any relevant experience in my good range of cohousing books, nor in Creating a Life Together. The issue is around how units are allocated. The dozen or so people actively involved in creating the project are almost all single people or couples without children, in the age range 45-60: I know from our cohousing workshops that a high proportion of the people actively involved in many cohousing projects are in this bracket. However, we don’t want to create a senior cohousing project: we want diversity of age and family sizes, including families with children. Several of the people actively involved are quite concerned about how units will be allocated: if we create a mix of units to attract families, there may well be a shortage of 1-2 bedroom units suitable for this age range, and this problem is likely to get worse as we widen our membership of residents. Some people are concerned about having quotas or selection processes, but it is pretty clear that some method of selecting for these units and enabling families to join, even if they have not put in much work in the early stages, will be needed. If you can offer me any advice from your experience, or can give me contacts with people or projects in North America who have figured out a way to deal with this issue, I would be really grateful. With all best wishes. Alan Heeks progress [at] workingvision.com The Threshold Centre Cole Street Farm Cole Street Lane Gillingham Dorset SP8 5JQ
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