|Re: Reluctant Cohousers||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Sharon Villines (sharonsharonvillines.com)|
|Date: Wed, 24 Dec 2014 11:14:06 -0800 (PST)|
On Dec 23, 2014, at 1:17 PM, Maggie Dutton <maggiedutton [at] gmail.com> wrote: > Objections like: > - · I like my privacy too much Cohousing provides lots of privacy. As much as you desire. Participating in workshare is important but other social activities are optional. And even workshare jobs are often solo jobs. The person who cleans the bathrooms, does it at midnight because that is the best time for her. Others do computer records work, or weed gardens alone. The important thing is being a good neighbor. Being on call when needed in an emergency or when someone needs a special favor. Just as you would in a neighborhood where you had lived for a long time. Cohousing drastically shortens the time period needed to know your neighbors, but you don't have to be best friends with them. > - · Strata Horror Stories Social class? Exclusion? My community has less of a full group consciousness than we had when we moved in. Groups who share a crisis become very close. And developing cohousing has lots of crises. People who move in 14 years later take a lot of things for granted and tend to live more like they lived before they moved in. But there are many activities that bring people together. I do wish sometimes that we had a more inclusive crisis. > - · Concerned about getting along with so many people You con't have to. I even have trouble being polite to some people, but then I'm not the most favorite person in my community. I express my "opinion" too much. What I tell people is that it's like an extended family -- Some people you love. Some people you avoid. Some you only see on holidays. Others you rarely see at all. > - · Don’t like anyone telling me what to do No one tells anyone what to do. Just try it! There are expectations like don't park your car anywhere but in your parking spot. If you want to use the CH for a party, reserve it on the calendar. These are just the things one has to do anywhere one lives. In this respect it is important to clarify the things that are particularly important to you before you move in. If you like to hunt and have guns, be clear that guns are allowed or at least not in your own home. If you have a pet python, check out your neighbor's fears of it. > - · Like lots of space around my place This one is hard. One solution is to have single family homes and have one on the edge of the community. My family in Oklahoma always live in houses where the front faces other houses and is on a paved street. The back looks out over a field. At my uncle"s house we used to eat breakfast while looking over a huge pasture of cows and see the rancher walking his fences every morning looking for breaks. At my grandmother's we looked out over a field large enough for the traveling circus to pitch tents and stake elephants. But on the front of the house was a close neighborhood of people who had lived there for years. > - · Could not stand having that many people around People are doing their own things. They don't sit around and talk that much. After meals but only if you go to meals. In the piazza on summer evenings but you can walk another way or sit on your balcony. > - · How affordable can it be when you have to pay a share of the > common house too This is an issue. We say units are smaller to compensate but in reality we have a richer life with more amenities, not a less expensive one. But I do think if the community goal is to live as inexpensively as possible, then the group can do that. I was on the Chickasaw reservation in Oklahoma over Thanksgiving. The tribes traditionally had one room homes and a large common house which was also one room. They actually had summer homes and winter homes, both small but well designed. The issues to keeping a community affordable is less customization when building, smaller homes to reduce upfront and ongoing costs. Good design that requires less maintenance and less heating, and cooling. Better decisions about what is really necessary -- like darkrooms, exercise rooms, etc. Common houses can get very expensive. What do you really need? > - · We need to move sooner than spring 2017 This is an issue for those who want to get their children settled in schools or to have more children before 2017. I think most of our initial residents were living in temporary housing before we moved in. I was renting on someone's enclosed sleeping porch. Others had sold their houses and were bunking with parents or in month to month rentals. Mostly because of delays in move in dates -- other housing was sold or leases ran out. So even if you say 2017, it might be 2018. No promises. People have to work out alternatives. About 10% of our people lived out of the area and found new jobs and moved closer while they were waiting for move in. If you want to do it, you can. > your spouse was the one that was keen and you went along. This worked out interestingly. Spouses who were reluctant became some of our most active members and the initially active dropped back. In only one case that I remember did a couple move out because one really didn't like it. Some singles moved out because of new relationships with people who couldn't imagine living here. We have been more fortunate that many communities, however. I have to say that everyone here is friendly and involved at least minimally. We all know each other and everyone is available to do jobs when asked. Three people showed up almost immediately last night because one household needed "three strong adults" to put a trampoline together before Christmas Eve. When my coffee grinder died before a meal a few months ago, I put out an email and immediately had offers of 7 and 3 appeared at my door. But I certainly don't see everyone every week or even every month, much less have conversations. Some who participate in weekly meals do, but that is optional. We might wave. Or see someone's spouse or child so we remember all the household members. For me, the "togetherness" of cohousing is expressed and emphasized in ways that make people remember how much they wanted to escape living in their parents house with five siblings and one bathroom and a picky grandfather. Sharon ---- Sharon Villines Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC http://www.takomavillage.org
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