Re: The Red Mercedes [was Consensus, Majority Vote, "Blocks"]
From: Dane Laverty (
Date: Sun, 6 Nov 2011 11:59:49 -0800 (PST)
Expense is my first major question with this. From what I've read, the
price of cohousing is generally on par with conventional housing. I like to
imagine that it could be reduced significantly through reducing the role of
the individual residences and increasing the role of the commons facilities.

I agree with you about government funding. I'd like to be able to keep the
community self-funding. Since the people I'd be looking to serve would
generally be people who aren't affluent, that would mean building as
affordable a community as possible. In terms of structure, I imagine
something closer to a Boy Scout camp than a condominium ( here's my most
recent attempt to articulate it: ).

"Many retreats designed allow people to rethink are really designed for
short expensive vacations." Sharon, that is *exactly* what I'm trying to
address. I believe that a retreat should provide peace, not increased
financial stress. What I want is to build a retreat that really allows a
person (or family) to, well, retreat.

Speaking of which, the family aspect is important to me. It's easier to
change directions when you're young and single. I specifically want to
provide options to middle-aged parents of young and teenage children.

I also agree with you about providing treatment. My goal isn't to address
pathological situations, but rather to help people acquire the vision,
skills, contacts, and motivation they need to turn their life situation
into something they're satisfied with.

I see the community residents each acting in one of two roles -- educator
or student. My target is that the community would provide food and lodging
in the ballpark of $1,000/month per family (same cost for both the
educators and the students). The educators would have the community
responsibility of organizing and teaching classes, as well as assisting the
students in developing their goals and plans. The students'
responsibilities would be to attend classes and to take care of the
community maintenance and services.


On Sun, Nov 6, 2011 at 8:42 AM, Sharon Villines
<sharon [at]>wrote:

> On 5 Nov 2011, at 12:59 PM, Dane Laverty wrote:
> > My less selfish reason is that I want to provide a "reset button" for
> people. I want a community for people who are stuck without skills,
> education, or work experience, a place that provides people with the space,
> contacts, and resources [snip] So I guess what I'm envisioning isn't so
> much a long-term cohousing community as it is a sort of staging area, a
> boarding school for life. I would be a place where people would come for a
> few years, get set up, and then head out again.
> I wished for this for my son who didn't go to college. He needed the place
> to develop independence and not have to live by all the rules of the home
> designed for younger children. A dorm and house parents for working 18-21
> year olds.
> If such a place were built on a cohousing model, run and managed by the
> residents, it might not be too expensive to live in. Many retreats designed
> allow people to rethink are really designed for short expensive vacations.
> A rental model would also allow choosing residents more carefully. If the
> community is providing services, they can't take on people who don't have
> the  industriousness to rebuild. It wouldn't be able to help people with
> mental illness or addictions and thus would have to screen carefully.
> Treatment facilities require much more public or private support than a
> rethinking and retooling community could provide.
> There are people around the country building "single room occupancy"
> housing that has shared kitchens and other facilities. Searching on "single
> room occupancy" might bring them up. Some are designed like "half-way"
> houses with some treatment support and supervision. In Manhattan, this
> housing model developed out of hotel living and people do live in both for
> their lifetimes.
> There would be pressure from government agencies to take people that the
> community might not be able to help. The lure is steady, guaranteed money,
> but it can make the community dependent on financial support from sources
> that send residents who are not able to contribute to the community — and
> even will prey on it. A healthy amount of skepticism is wise.
> Twin Oaks allowed themselves to become dependent on one customer — a large
> retail outlet. When that outlet stopped ordering their hammocks, they were
> essentially out of business. After that they diversified and did more of
> their own marketing.
> > I'm not sure that this addresses any of your points about the assumed
> > absence of conflict. My hope is that, since this community would function
> > more like a program than a neighborhood, and due to the short-term nature
> > of the stay for most of the residents, there would be less friction.
> Conflict develops very fast — it doesn't have to be huge to cause daily
> irritations — and move-in is probably the most difficult time (or after the
> new has worn off). If people are betwixt and between, they are probably
> also unhappy and irritable. And even embarrassed to find themselves in
> "such a place." It takes time to overcome unreasonable expectations and
> build a reputation as cool.
> One reason people might find themselves in need of such a facility is that
> they can't handle conflict well. Conflict is daily if you are dealing with
> another person — you can't always be in perfect alignment, even with
> yourself. You have to know how to work it out. (I'm not suggesting that I
> know.)
> > I think you've touched on the key point with your suggested regular 5 -
> 15
> > minute conflict resolution meeting. In the computer programming world,
> the
> > popular methodology *du jour* is called "Agile programming". It consists
> of
> > several team management practices, one of which being the "daily stand-up
> > meeting".
> I think this sounds like a very useful practice for raising conflicts.
> Often they just need to be raised — I am routinely surprised and surprise
> others with things that are irritating.
> Can you recommend a website that summarizes these practices? I've heard of
> some of them because Agile people are very interested in systems thinking
> and thus gravitate toward dynamic governance.
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines, Washington DC
> "We are confronted with insurmountable opportunities." Walt Kelly
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