RE: When world(view)s collide
From: Forbes Jan (
Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2001 18:35:01 -0700 (MST)

It sounds as though with your limited amount of space priority should go to
the younger kids.  I heard from Graham Meltzer at a talk about his research,
that had picked up that older kids in cohousing tend to feel they are
missing out on facilities that cater specifically for their needs while they
see that the younger kids are well looked after.  

Is there anything that your group can provide in or around the common house
that may support the interests of the older kids?  Games, computers, a room
of their own with hi-fi equipment, basket ball ring?  This would provide
alternatives for the kids whose parents don't want them going across to the

Do the older kids really want an outside play area or do their parents want
it?  Has anyone asked the older kids what they want?


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Howard Landman [SMTP:howard [at]]
> Sent: Thursday, 22 March 2001 11:44
> To:   cohousing-l [at]
> Subject:      [C-L]_When world(view)s collide
> I'm wondering if anyone out there has had experience reconciling radically
> different world views into a consensus.
> The specific problem we're facing now goes something like this:
> - We need to have someplace for our bigger kids (say 6-12 years old)
>   to play.  We already constructed a sandy play area, but it's mostly
>   being used by the toddlers, and there are issues with the older
>   kids being too rambunctious for the little ones.
> - We are located directly adjacent to a large city park with trees,
>   a large playground, tennis courts, basketball courts, a farm,
>   and river access.
> - We have 34 units on 4 acres, so there's not a lot of space to
>   spare.  (This contrasts with nearby Grayrock, which has 15
>   acres in addition to its main property.)
> There seem to be two main opinions about this (I may be distorting
> things slightly to simplify the presentation):
> (1) One group believes deeply that it is completely unsafe and
>     unacceptable for kids under 10 to be in the park without adult
>     supervision, even if they go there in groups of 2 or 3.  They are
>     concerned about "predatory types" doing something unspeakable to
>     their kids.  They are worried about the river.  Therefore, it is
>     "obvious" to them that we *must* build a play area specifically
>     for the bigger sub-teen kids, and that it must be in the central
>     part of our site so that parents can keep a constant eye on them.
> (2) The second group sees nothing wrong with kids that age going to
>     the park and back by themselves.  They reminisce about doing
>     much more dangerous things when they were kids, and just don't
>     see the problem.  The idea of building a playground on our
>     limited space when there's a perfectly good playground a couple
>     hundred feet away seems silly and redundant to them, a waste of
>     a very limited resource.  It is "obvious" to them that this is
>     a bad idea.
> Having started off in camp 2 and having made some effort to understand
> the camp 1 folks, I now am faced with the "Where do we go from here?"
> question.  I think I know the scope of the divergence of opinions, but
> I'm not sure how to work towards consensus.  The 1 folks are frustrated
> because they've brought up this "urgent" issue several times and gotten
> nowhere (but they failed to develop a consensus that there was in fact
> a problem that needed solving before trying to get specific solutions
> adopted).  The 2 folks are frustrated because the issue refuses to go
> away (but are not doing a good job so far of listening to the concerns).
> Any ideas?  I'm not interested in hearing that "group 1 is right" or
> "I agree with group 2".  I want some way to begin synthesizing both
> viewpoints into something we can all live with.
>       Howard Landman
>       River Rock Commons, Ft. Collins CO
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