RE: Deciding to join a community [was: Questions ... from a newlist member
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Thu, 9 Sep 2004 16:35:34 -0700 (PDT)
On Wed, 8 Sep 2004, Laura Jones wrote:

> What is the best way to get a feel for how a particular co-housing
> community works on a day-to-day level as an outsider looking in?

If you have never lived in any kind of community situation before, then its pretty much like visiting France or some foreign culture you don't know much about. You can read a couple guidebooks, but you have to live in the culture for awhile in order to understand things. It is my experience that this is true about community. You can not know what a community is really like from any kind of visit because you are an outsider, thus not privy to the inside stuff. And if you have never lived in a community, you won't what kinds of questions to ask to get at the inside stuff that is important to you.

In my experience, people get too hung up on finding the perfect community from scratch. It's sort of a cinderella syndrome thing, or marrying the first sweetheart you had in high school. It is better to find a community that is OK, live there with the idea that you are going to learn about community in order to move to the best community for you later. Once you have had a couple years of experiences, you then will first hand know what to look for. One of the prime advantages (and things to look for) about cohousing, is it is generally pretty easy to sell your investment and move on.

Every community is different and also changes over time. Even if you move into a place that does not accomodate one or more of your needs, your energy can change the community into a place that does. Also, you may find that once you live in a place you discover an important need that you were not aware of. All these things come with experience, you have to live it in order to know about it. So my advice is jump in and start living.

Rob Sandelin
Sharingwood Cohousing
Snohomish, WA

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