Re: The Village of Wildflowers
From: Fred H Olson (
Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2013 09:07:39 -0800 (PST)
Coleen O'Connell <oconnellcoleen [at]>
is the author of the message below.  It was posted by
Fred, the Cohousing-L list manager <fholson [at]>

I combined her message with her reply that supplied a URL
which I edited in below.  Also note that tho she addresses
her first sentence to me, I only reposted the message as I am
doing with this one.  The message she is responding to was
written by WW Gilman, The Village of Wildflowers <Wwgilman [at]> .
I also deleted the long quoted message.
--------------------  FORWARDED MESSAGE FOLLOWS --------------------

Fred, Though I certainly can resonate with forgoing endless meetings and a
long time to develop, I have to say that our community would not be as
strong, or probably even functioning, had one person had the vision and
made it happen.  I am not suggesting that you can't make your vision
happen, but you will need to be gracious and very open, spacious, and
generous in allowing it to change from your original vision if it is truly
going to work.   If you stick to some rigid fantasy you hold, people will
not find that attractive.  I certainly wouldn't... speaking for myself.

I know of another community where the person used their own money,
developed the rules and regs, all the documentation, designed the houses,
and Common House, and is now waiting for people to sign up... and very few
are.  The purpose of community is to become one ... it takes years to
become that.  Otherwise you just have an expensive neighborhood with some
hopefully shared values.  I think the intentions are great ... the values
good - but people want to co create. I think it is in our genes.  And in
systems thinking, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts ... the
point being you need many parts.  It could be so much more than what you

A wonderful model that I have toured and spent time at is the Enright
Ecovillage [  ] in Cincinnati, Ohio.
A few neighborhood people,  slowly over
time, gathered with neighbors in a historic neighborhood, bought a large
building that was a church?  or something, turned it into a community
center, and one by one, as houses went on the market, they found people to
buy them that wanted to be part of the Ecovillage neighborhood.  They
started farming the land in the back and they have a really wonderful
model.  I think there are lots of people out there thinking outside the
cohousing box... and yes we must all do that ... cohousing is but one model
that has arisen out of many thousands of years of humans living
cooperatively and closely.  And there is no one right way to do things.
 What I do know, is that it is hard to find people to sign onto someone
else's vision, when in fact, the joy of community is co-creating one.  That
takes time and effort but hopefully it is worth it.  And the outcome of
such shared vision is infectious.

Coleen from Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage

Coleen O'Connell
Ecological Teaching and Learning MS Program
Lesley University
oconnell [at]
Check out these two exciting things I am engaged in:

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