Re: Realism in Development
From: Moz (
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2011 15:21:36 -0800 (PST)
Sharon came back with:
> On 1 Oct 2011, at 9:06 PM, Moz wrote:
>> older people who had reasonable capital and were risk-averse,
>> ... some younger/poorer people want a slower, riskier, cheaper

> One of the tricky parts to developing cohousing is educating the
> inexperienced (and unrealistic) and inspiring the experienced.

I have experienced this in activism as well. It's a well established
process in green activism, especially the stuff that gets people arrested
(Greenpeace have a bureaucrazy for it, for example). The young kids are
all "let's do something radical right NOW!" and the old hands (in their
late 20's :) are more "let's find an action that will acheive something
first". Both attitudes are necessary and valuable.

At this stage us "young keen ones" are in our late 30's/early 40's and
trying to find similar people to build cohousing (in Australia you're
looking at 10x the median income to buy the median house, so you typically
get older people buying first homes).

> The younger people are the less invincible they feel ? in terms of both
> energy and optimism. The older they are the less they feel able to take
> risks but they also have the necessary skills.

We've found it actually the opposite - the older people we've attracted
have been the ones without the skills who are hoping that if the only
thing they change is "look for cohousing" they will succeed at last. The
Urban Coup tended to burn off the "older, have experience and money"
potential joiners quite fast. I struggled with that, being AFAIK the only
Coup member with actual property development experience and getting
shouted down a few times when I tried to put that knowlege forward. Albeit
the Coup is apparently still moving forward (but we're out of it now, and
they finally stopped bugging us so I don't know what's actually
happening). Hopefully Coup Version 3 will succeed.

> realistic about needing clear community agreements that are more balanced
> in saying no as much as yes and determining how much work we can take on
> for ourselves. The projects they take on are more solid.

Yes. That's one reason why we're looking for (ex)activists. If you've done
more than one campaign as an activist you've hopefully seen the cycle and
have learned to deal with it. You've also seen the way organisations burn
out their staff, and they don't do it in a hostile "down the mines you're
on the scrapheap by 40" way, but in a "so much to do, must do everything
now, panic!" way. We're all actively managing that aspect of our lives
every day, already.


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