Re: Time Banking
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2010 06:05:42 -0700 (PDT)

On Jul 28, 2010, at 12:05 PM, Craig Ragland wrote:

We actually found the idea pretty amusing - that it would be absurd to
systematize or "monetize" our relationship, reducing it to hours. For
example, ...[snip] These make a lot
of sense to me when applied to relationships with less depth, with fewer

I think that is the issue -- less interconnections. I taught for many years at SUNY Empire State College where most learning was individualized. Students, all adults, would meet with a mentor every two weeks to discuss their work. All programs were individualized with independent study, registration in courses, work with tutors, studying for tests, internships, etc.

Visiting faculty or other officials used to ask but how do you monitor their work if they aren't in class? We actually had much more monitoring because we knew our students. We knew how they talked and thus whether they had written the paper they turned in. Whether they had actually shown up for a tutoring session, etc. Lectures of 300 or even 50 students don't allow that kind of relationship.

The same in cohousing. If there are 25 people and little turn over, the relationships build and it is obvious when one person is missing from meetings or workdays or meals.

We just broke 65 and that is impossible. We just had three units turn over so that means 5 new people. The woman next to me always has a roommate and she has had 6 living with her. She was in Italy for two years and three sets of partners live there then. Now she has a baby. Thus I have had 14 people living next to me in 10 years.

That is a unique situation but one other unit has changed hands 4 times. There have been 13 move-ins and outs in 10 years in 43 units. Before people think we are a revolving door, only 3 have been because the community wasn't right for them. Others have moved out of the area to take jobs elsewhere. (It's always possible that they looked for the jobs in order to get out of here!)

We have added a number of people as residents partnered up. Almost every unit has added two people when one left.

Deep relationships with all those people is both impossible and exhausting. If they all showed up for a meeting in the CH it would be very crowded and it would have to be an all day meeting to hear everyone on one topic.

It is still hard to convert participating into hours, but cohousing is a lot of work. One consultant told us that in a regular condominium, it would take 400 units to support "extra" facilities like the Common House. We are trying to do it with 43, plus maintain a landscape that is of the quality of a wealthy residential garden -- above even an expensive hotel.

When talking with Brian about local currency, one of our
thoughts was that it might be useful for "foreign exchange" - what if
Songaia was to collaborate on accumulating time "dollars" that we could bank
for use when we need skills/labor from outside of our community?

This is one reason to do a timebank. It would integrate the community with the larger community and make many more services available for exchange. I participate in a neighborhood time bank and have recently had carpentry work done in my unit, a computer fixed, a chapter of a book in French translated, and a garbage disposal replaced. I'm about to ask another member to sell some things on eBay for me. The hours I've earned have been from an effort to save the historic theater next door to us. Since I worked almost full time for 6 months, I have a lot of hours banked.

You can check out the timebank at the address under my signature.

Sharon Villines, Coordinator
TakomaTime: Your Neighborhood Timebank

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