|The myth of diversity||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Rob Sandelin (Exchange) (RobsanExchange.MICROSOFT.com)|
|Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 11:32:52 -0500|
Is diversity a reality in community, or is it a myth? Based on my observations of the communitarian world, there is a great deal of diversity between communities, very little within. If you want to experience diversity go to almost any intercity neighborhood and you will find diversity by the truckload. The very act of creating an intentional community filters out diversity in a number of ways. 1. It filters out people who don't want to live in community, 2. it filters out people who are bad communicators, 3. it filters out people who use violence to resolve disputes, ...the list goes on and on. So the very act of creating cohousing removes diversity, and deep down, this what people want. People want community enough to become land developers. They could have community where they live now, but its too diverse so it doesn't happen. Try holding a community dinner in a regular neighborhood. Maybe everyone on the block will show up, more likely 2-3 people will. In creating a community you are filtering out all the folks that don't have the interest, motavation or money, or tolerance of others, or (fill in the blank). By filtering out those people, you limit your diversity scale very substantially. So in my opinion, diversity in community is a myth. You can proudly point to your (pick a representative minority) and say, Hey, we're diverse, but on the inside, you are all alike. And you know what? It HAS to be this way. 30 years of experience with deliberate intentional communities in the US suggests that communities that do not have a binding glue, a vision, don't last. Cohousing developments that do not have a fairly strong group commitment to cooperative process, have a likelihood of evolving into standard condos, the commonhouse will get used for Christmas parties and an excercise room and the folks who live their will drift off into anonmity just like every other condo. The sustainability of cohousing is a real good question to look at over the next decade as the founders move out and are replaced by people who have a different relationship to the place. If diversity includes people who don't care about your community, don't want to participate, just want to live their lives by themselves without all these encumbering relationships with the neighbors, then what happens to the community? It becomes maintained by a smaller and smaller circle of people. Several examples of exisiting communities that have gone to that pattern suggest that eventually the community justs disappears. So my opinion is that you want selective diversity, filtered by your visions and principals as a group. And if your vision and principals exclude folks, that is not only a good thing, it is absolutely necessary for the sustainability of the community. Rob Sandelin NICA
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