Re: The 2015 Conference in Durham & Future Conferences
From: John Beutler (
Date: Thu, 4 Jun 2015 08:13:09 -0700 (PDT)
I have gone to a national food coop meeting several times, and they are always 
in different locations (Phila, San Diego, Pittsburgh, Madison, Boise this 
year). The host coop pours a lot of effort into them, just like in Durham. I 
wouldn't want to saddle local groups on an ongoing basis. And I agree that 
seeing the local activity is a part of why people attend.

Having it in one or two places is convenient for the professional societies, 
and cheaper, but I prefer a broader rotation.



Sent from my tricorder

> On Jun 4, 2015, at 7:20 AM, R Philip Dowds <rpdowds [at]> wrote:
> 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.
> Thanks,
>> 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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