involvement of newcomers vs. long-term community members
From: Craig Ragland (
Date: Sat, 11 Jul 2009 10:13:15 -0700 (PDT)
As I've listened, I've heard two basic stories around this...

(1) newcomers who do not jump in and don't seem to embrace what their
(established) community has to offer

- and-

(2) newcomers who rapidly immerse in the community's culture...

One thing I've come to believe is that cohousing neighbors in the first
group (the less involved) are still much better neighbors than most
Americans will ever experience in conventional suburbs or in multi-family
housing... (your mileage my vary)

I used to worry about folks in my community that didn't show up for this or
that event or project or who stopped participating in common meals - as I
personally value high community involvement. Over the last few years, I've
mellowed and have come to believe its helpful for everyone if I just relax
about it. Appreciating who they are as great neighbors seems healthier all
around than agonizing over why somebody doesn't show up as much. Of course
this appreciation may take longer as we spend less time together. It also
means we have more news to share when we do get together.

Craig (Songaia resident since 1992)

On Sat, Jul 11, 2009 at 9:13 AM, Joelyn Malone <JKMalone [at]> 

> Here at Monterey Cohousing (MN) we've been at this business of living
> together for 16 years now, but still haven't solved the issue of new
> residents not seeming to be as "invested" in the community aspect of
> cohousing as some of us who helped create the place. One theory is that
> the new folks somehow don't feel as empowered to have influence and make
> changes they see as necessary. This in spite of the fact that we've
> tried to structure our meetings and processes to provide that
> empowerment; especially the message "your concerns are as valid as
> anyone's" and "if you don't like something, bring it up and take it
> through the process we use to make changes" - rather than just
> complaining about it to the other new people".
> We are thinking of implementing something we've seen in the membership
> process of new groups who haven't yet moved in, which is a pledge to
> honor our vision statement and actively participate in various
> activities (work requirements, meal program) even though we know we
> can't legally "require" this of new buyers. Have others used this
> mechanism, and has it been effective? I think we can't make it binding,
> but at least it would bring our expectations to the potential future
> owner in a way they would need to actively accept the expected
> responsibilities (by signing the pledge) or actively choose not to do
> so, whereby we would at least know where we stand with that owner if
> they do buy in.
> _________________________________________________________________
> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.