Re: Cohousing-L is 20 years old [20yr]
From: Tree Bressen (
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2013 21:10:50 -0800 (PST)
Hi folks,

Long time no post. Fred, as attentive and dedicated as ever, made a point of letting "frequent posters" know of the anniversary. Well, former frequest posters, in my own case.

I haven't read the list regularly in a long time, and only rarely scan for topics of interest (primarily group process) at this point. Nonetheless, i continue to be glad this list exists! Coming into contact with members of a variety of cohousing groups, it's not uncommon for me to recommend that they search the archives or post a query here. With any newly forming group, i strongly encourage them to have one or more members join this list, because there is so much to learn. Just by being a regular reader, one can take in a ton of useful info and, perhaps at least as importantly, some of the lore and culture of the movement.

Kudos and appreciation to Fred for his dedicated stewardship. Thanks also to everyone who has maintained a helpful and respectful tone here over the years. It's easy for online communications to decline into incivility, and some lists fall apart over that. While i prefer face-to-face community over the virtual realm, online connections have their place, and i'm glad to see the sense of comradeship on this list.

For those who may be curious, my own life has gone through many changes the past few years. I'm presently living alone for the first time ever, in a sweet little house in Eugene with my cat. Believe it or not, living alone is feeling wonderfully nourishing to me, after all those years packed into close-living intentional communities. Perhaps if i'd been in cohousing, which offers more balance between privacy and community, i'd still be living in community today! Even so, you can't take the communitarian completely out of community, because since moving to this house 18 months ago i've become friendly with over a dozen households within 4 blocks--among various combinations of people we have a food-buying club, a disaster prep plan, and regular "gift circles"--lately i've been thinking i ought to throw a party soon for all the people i've met who live nearby. Eugene still doesn't have a completed cohousing community, but i'm cheering on Oakleigh Meadow in the design stage. I'm also looking forward to visiting back at Acorn in Virginia for the first time in 3+ years this spring, to join in their celebration of their own 20th anniversary. So hard to believe our little spin-off commune (from the elder Twin Oaks) is practically grown up now!

Another big change is that last year for the first time ever, all of my paid facilitation work was in Oregon. Those who have known me for years have patiently put up with my complaints about too much travel, so this felt like a major milestone. While it's something i've been working toward for a long time, it's also a response to the changing economy as queried in others' posts to this thread, which i've been in a good position to observe as a roving consultant: interest in cohousing has not declined (that is, the market for it is not "saturated"), but when the housing market contracted, people could no longer rely on selling their other housing in order to buy into cohousing, and it hugely affected the development of more communities. While i've always worked with a variety of groups, including nonprofits, schools, worker co-ops, and activists, in recent times i've been consciously expanding my facilitation practice to include government agencies, small local businesses, and other organizations.

I've also put a lot of energy into the Group Works deck (subtitled, A Pattern Language for Bringing Life to Meetings and Other Gatherings). Since i know a bunch of you on this list are in the Bay Area, i'll mention that we're putting on an afternoon workshop there on Saturday, Feb. 23. Info posted at Thanks to Raines the event is cosponsored by East Bay Cohousing, and i would enjoy seeing any of y'all who i haven't seen in a while there, as well as meeting new folks. The Group Works deck is also freely available for iPad, and our iPhone app is getting close to being released; details on all this at the website (

Also one more resource reminder, the shared community policy library lives on at So if your group is writing or revising a policy on pets or guests or--heaven forfend!--participation, remember you can check there for examples from other communities. Better yet, if your community can add documents to the library, that makes it better for everyone, so send them along to Daniel Lindenberger at daniel [at] (just be patient for his reply, as he's crazy busy with 2 young rugrats these days).


--Tree Bressen


Tree Bressen
Eugene, Oregon
(541) 343-3855 (after 11am)
tree [at] - GROUP WORKS decks now available!

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