Re: The popularization of the term Co-housing
From: R Philip Dowds (rpdowdscomcast.net)
Date: Sat, 22 Oct 2016 06:53:42 -0700 (PDT)
Ty (et al) —

Great topic, great conference topic, great post.  I personally see cohousing as 
primarily a social contract, and only secondarily as a design project (this 
being said by a registered architect) … and I’ll pitch in my own evolving 
definition:

“Cohousing is a moderately-sized group of households living in immediate 
proximity and joined in a shared expectation of …
  —  mutual recognition,
  —  consistent engagement,
  —  reciprocal support, and
  —  managed equivalence."

I can parse out each phrase.  But I won’t.  However, many will notice I have 
NOT referenced any of the key visible attributes often used to characterize 
cohousing, such as member participation in the real estate development phase, 
common house, common meals, consensus decision-making, compost bins, and so on.
     Thus one of the questions this definition raises is, Can the cohousing 
lifestyle and value system exist in the abstract, without shared common 
amenities like the common house, common meals, common yards and gardens, a 
common vehicle, a common bank account, etc?  In other words, can the values of 
a shared life exist without concrete objects of sharing?  If not, what’s the 
minimum amount of object sharing needed to make cohousing real?
     And another is, does absence of any key characteristic disqualify a 
community from the cohousing label?  That is, picture a community that shares 
many common meals in a well-maintained common house, communally tends its 
vegetable garden, forms and runs a childcare cooperative, shares private 
vehicles back and forth, watches the campaign debates as a large group — but 
makes all its decisions by super-majority vote, not by consensus.  Has this 
community failed the cohousing entrance exam?

Thanks,
Philip Dowds
Cornerstone Village Cohousing
Cambridge, MA

> On Oct 21, 2016, at 1:09 PM, Ty Albright <tmalbright [at] verizon.net> wrote:
> 
> 
> Is it Cohousing?  This coming May in Nashville at the 2017 NATIONAL
> COHOUSING CONFERENCE we hope to have some fun discussing and debating this
> question.  When is something cohousing, and when is it something else?
> 
> 
> 
> Cohousing is a proven concept and living solution.  While there is ongoing
> debate about the nuances of what is or is not cohousing; those who are aware
> of and have been involved with cohousing understand when "if it looks like a
> duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a
> duck".
> 
> 
> 
> Sometimes people call a penguin a duck.  Penguins have things that are
> similar to a duck, but a penguin is not a duck.
> 
> 
> 
> Cohousing values and characteristics improve any community and aspects of
> cohousing can benefit people with unique needs.  We need all sorts of
> cooperative, collaborative, community-oriented housing of which cohousing is
> one type.
> 
> 
> 
> The following are not cohousing, they are penguins:
> 
> Shared Housing / House Sharing
> 
> Ecovillage
> 
> Any apartment or independent living type facility that has a management
> company
> 
> Pocket Neighborhood
> 
> Commune
> 
> Cult
> 
> Kibbutz
> 
> Trailer park with a strong social committee
> 
> Ecovillage
> 
> HOA Condominium or Cooperative (co-op) (these are forms of real estate
> ownership)
> 
> 
> 
> You can go to cohousing.org and see the most current consensus driven
> definition of cohousing, but for evaluation purposes consider the following:
> 
> 
> 
> Cohousing involves aspects of:  1). Design and 2). Intentional Community
> 
> 
> 
> Design includes the creation of a physical environment that maximizes the
> opportunity for humans to encounter each other, which will in turn maximize
> the opportunity for human interaction and the creation of community.  This
> includes permanent construction private homes (which affords privacy),
> shared community space and infrastructure.  A typical feature is a common
> house for residents to gather together and share meals.  Resident
> participation in the design is optimal.
> 
> 
> 
> Intentional Community includes the concept that all residents in a community
> agree to be good neighbors.  This includes the concept of self-governance /
> management, individual economic investment and independent income (it's not
> a commune nor free government housing), and the willingness to participate
> in community building activities including such things as common meals and
> conflict resolution.
> 
> 
> 
> The term Cohousing is a contraction of collaborative and cooperative and
> housing.  The "co" suggest in working with others.
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Ty
> 
> Ty Albright Project Management
> Little Red Hen LLC
> 214-336-7952
> <mailto:tmalbright [at] verizon.net> tmalbright [at] verizon.net
> <http://www.linkedin.com/in/tmalbright> www.linkedin.com/in/tmalbright
> 
> 
> 
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