Re: The 2015 Conference in Durham & Future Conferences
From: R Philip Dowds (
Date: Thu, 4 Jun 2015 04:20:37 -0700 (PDT)
I’m only half on board for standardizing the locations.  I suppose there’s an 
argument that, now that China has built such spectacular facilities, all future 
Olympics should be held in Beijing.  Moreover, Durham is a great, great choice: 
 An interesting and affordable city, more “central” than (for instance) Boston, 
and with many, extraordinarily diverse cohos within a short driving distance = 
great for tours.  A repeat in Durham would not be a mistake.  And yet …

And yet, part of the fun for my wife and me is that of going somewhere new and 
different, somewhere we’ve not been before.  Location, location and location 
are always important.  Part of the significance of a new and different location 
each time is (a) the conference can mobilize, enthuse and (re)incorporate the 
energy and commitment of a new set of local host communities, and (b) there is 
better probability of seeing some new faces along with the familiar faces.

If the conference is held in Durham again four years from now, will Susan and I 
come again?  At our age, this question is fraught with hidden implications.  
But assuming we do have the choice … I have to say it’s not currently clear 
that we would choose the repeat.


> On Jun 3, 2015, at 10:40 AM, Alice Alexander <alicecohous [at]> 
> wrote:
> Many thanks Sharon. Great feedback.
> I want to confirm that the plan is a national cohousing conference every
> two years. The location for 2017 has not been determined.
> I want to echo Sharon's good suggestion that we consider standard locations
> for the national conference. I have had this experience with other
> organizations and associations, and it has worked well! But all is still up
> for consideration.
> I encourage all of you to share ideas and consider involvement in *regional
> conferences* that Coho/US can co-host with you, providing tremendous
> support, but relying on local cohousing communities - forming, building
> and/or existing - to take a leadership role. We would like to co-host
> regional conferences at least every other alternating national conference
> year, and could consider more often. Anyone up for co-hosting a regional
> conference in early 2016?
> Please include these ideas in your 2015 National Conference Survey; you may
> also email me <alicecohous [at]> directly. Many thanks.
> Alice Alexander, Coho/US Executive Director
> On Tue, Jun 2, 2015 at 4:27 PM, Sharon Villines <sharon [at] 
> wrote:
>> (I figure that subject line will search well in the archives!)
>> I loved the conference. The best I’ve been to in a long time. Ditto all
>> the things Ann said. Good food, good space, nice organization, wonderful
>> presentations, a good location with alternative housing and restaurants,
>> close to several cohousing communities.
>> I liked being in a hotel. It was more lively than being on a deserted
>> college campus. The campuses are less expensive but also less lively and
>> comfortable. In Denver for example everything closed at 5:00 and you
>> couldn’t get a soda or a snack except by going off campus. Without a car,
>> that was no easy for everyone.
>> The Marriott was directly connected to the Civic Center that was designed
>> for meetings — large and small. And for meals. The cost of $125 a night for
>> a single is very inexpensive compared to DC, New England, California, etc.
>> My suggestion is that find a similar place west of the
>> Mississippi, and alternate between it and Durham. it is much easier to plan
>> a conference in a familiar hotel and reservations and planning need to
>> happen 2 years in advance. Conference planning is much easier in a repeat
>> location because the staff knows your group won’t trash the rooms or cause
>> trouble in the bar. Or smoke where they aren’t supposed to. And the
>> planning committee knows the location — what works and what doesn’t.
>> It’s also much easier to attend a conference in a place you’ve been
>> before. It takes time to locate services and learn the in and outs of a
>> location. I paid for internet service in the Marriott, for example, only to
>> find that it didn’t work right next door in the civic center. Our
>> wireless's at Takoma Village go that far! Then I discovered there was free
>> wireless in the Civic Center. And I now know where all the meeting rooms
>> are. A big help.
>> Alternating locations all over the place sounds like it is meeting the
>> needs of everyone but a conference spot can never be satisfactory for
>> everyone. Better to focus on arranging group travel plans to a good
>> location. Moving the conference itself creates a lot of work and you start
>> with inexperience every time.
>> With internet connections the planning work can be spread out so each
>> location doesn’t have to be overwhelmed.
>> Just an idea based on too much experience.
>> Sharon
>> ----
>> Sharon Villines, Washington DC
>> "The story of history is the story of organization."
>> _________________________________________________________________
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> -- 
> Alice Alexander
> Executive Director
> <>
> [image: The Cohousing Association]
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