|Re: Neighborhood List [Was: Security policies and security infrastructure for parking lots or entire sites]||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Sharon Villines (sharonsharonvillines.com)|
|Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2011 09:28:13 -0800 (PST)|
On 15 Jan 2011, at 11:03 AM, Douglas G. Larson wrote: >> "What has made the biggest difference, is the neighborhood list. " > > Could you give more detail about the list you speak of? > > Is this a listserv list similar to this Cohousing-L list or is it something > different all together? You mention software that is/could/must be purchased. > Please give more detail about that. In the 1990s, free email discussion lists were unavailable so a computer consultant purchased a software that provided the "post office" function. I forget the name of the software, but it was supplanted by e-Groups, then YahooGroups. The list functions just like this group in the sense that anyone could join and send messages. The technology was all that changed, along with more moderation as the list grew. In addition to be being asked, I provide more information because I think understanding how lists work also facilitates the formation of cohousing groups and of integration of cohousing groups into the neighborhood. They are a means of communication that is available to everyone with a computer (now almost everyone) immediately, as long as they have a telephone line, which almost everyone does. While face-to-face may have some advantages in some situations, it is hardly available as quickly or 24/7. The few who do not have access can buddy-up with a neighbor who does and be warned or informed by them. People do post for others. Some are predicting a societal move to social networks like FaceBook, Meet-up, etc. but I haven't found any of these services to have the immediacy and focus of a well-moderated list. By "moderated" I mean "facilitated" like a meeting. Someone has to over see the process of determining and enforcing the purposes of the list. What is the focus of discussion? What is off-topic? Exclude troublemakers. Monitor spam. The chief advantage of the list, like this one, is information sharing, but it is also a way of getting to know people. I know who many people are from email list discussions that I will never meet in person. When our cohousing group was forming, I knew everyone from email because I was in Florida — several states away — until 3 months before move-in. I had to then learn to put faces together with people but I did that feeling that I was already part of the group. Without a list, many of us would have been excluded from those first two years of development. The neighborhood list allows us to organize picnics, reform local business behavior, alert each other about traffic issues — anything related to living in a place. Gunshots at 3 am. Recipes for okra was a hot topic this summer. Refuting city claims that all the streets were plowed. That a local school official had been killed and when the funeral was. It builds community. Stop another pawn shop from opening. The list helped us organize residents so a local bar had to hire security guards anytime they had hip-hop bands playing because people were getting killed across the street from us. No security guards, no liquor license. I moderate our list and trade off with a neighbor when it gets to hot for me — like when one person insists on posting material that has been declared off-topic and I'm about commit hari-kari. He gives it back when things get too hot for him — like when people start attacking his wife, a local neighborhood leader. I believe that Cohousing-L, thanks to Fred, is also the best tool we have for forming cohousing communities. The Coho-USA website has grown and improved dramatically in the last few years, but for will over a decade, this list was the best information out there and continues to be the most responsive format. Websites are good places to organize and store information but they don't provide immediate responses. For those who think email is a slow and unresponsive medium, my favorite rebuttal includes two stories. 1. A cohousing neighbor had a teenager who was off the rails for a time. One day his sitter was unable to control the teen and locked himself and the other children in room and called me for help. I immediately put out an email to our internal list. I was only 10 ft from my door, when I turned a corner to see two people already at the unit door to help. 2. My handyman drilled into a sprinkler pipe in my unit. First we tried to turn off all the water, then realized it was a sprinkler pipe. I had no idea what to do about a sprinkler so I put out an email. Then I started out my door to see if I could find anyone at home faster. By the time I got the door open a person was coming in. In a few minutes not only had the sprinkler system been shut down, but a crew of people were cleaning up the flood so fast, there was minimal damage to my wood floors. The same thing happens on our neighborhood list. People post answers immediately, whether it is a government agency phone number and contact name or spotting a lost dog. I once asked why it was quieter when it snowed and someone who works at the Dept of the Environment responded about its acoustical properties. When we no longer have a stay-at-home mom in every house, or even 25% of the houses and have so many neighbors that it takes a squad of 15 several days to get paper newsletters delivered at most once a month, our list really makes us a neighborhood. Sharon ---- Sharon Villines Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC http://www.takomavillage.org
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