Community Seeking
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2010 09:10:40 -0700 (PDT)

On Mar 22, 2010, at 9:38 AM, Raines Cohen wrote:

"The process for seekers is daunting. The e-list, magazine, websites, and
conferences/activities present a very appealing lifestyle but the door
in is not evident.  I would love to connect with and network with
others in the same process to share information and find some ideas
for a more effective search."

The list of things Raines proposes as possibilities for pulling seekers together is excellent, but I wonder if the premise on which it is based is flawed.

Joining a cohousing community is more like moving into a neighborhood than joining a club or a family. You buy a house and move in. In cohousing, people are more likely to help you move in. And they will invite you to dinner, but many neighborhoods do that.

New cohousing communities have formed and moved in in less than 3 years. The first meeting may have less than 15 people and no more than 5-10 of those may be still standing by move in, and many more will come and go along the way. A clump will sign on at the last minute and people will be glad to see them because they need to sell the units.

That means the people in new communities know very little about each other except that they have all been brought together by a desire that sweeps away differences and focuses on the goal -- housing that is designed to support community.

They aren't searching for utopia. Just a better way to live. They aren't searching for people like themselves, but for a neighborhood is supportive when it needs to be, knows how to celebrate together, and is open to new members. If they couldn't find one, they built one.

So I'm concerned that the focus on finding just the right community might lead down the wrong path and result in fewer cohousing communities, not more.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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