Re: Social participation (was How do we hold each other accountable?)
From: Naomi Anderegg (
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2010 09:49:54 -0700 (PDT)

You said:
"We're keeping it in mind, but there's a tension between members who

want a completely open coho where people self-select based on their
preferences, and members who would like to be able to reject potential
members for some reason. We haven't got to the reasons yet, we're
still discussion whether it's theoretically acceptable to reject

The reason I'm participating in this thread in particular is that
we're arguing about those things right now :) Currently the "no
contribution is worth anything/ all contributions, even zero, are
worth the same" group are winning. I think that's mostly from fear,
presumably of being forced to do more work than they'd prefer. Which
is a whole discussion of itself (and I've read the list archives where
it's covered extensively and intensively)."

I'm not a co-houser, but very interested in helping to develop a retrofit / 
urban renewal / deep south flavor of co-housing in Birmingham. (From what I've 
found, there are no co-housing communities in Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, 
or Louisiana. There are two in the Atlanta metro area. I know that there are 
some rural land-trusts in Alabama though.) That said, it seems to me that by 
participating in co-housing a person is acknowledging a belief that communities 
are built by people and relationships and that building a community requires a 
time investment on community members' parts. You cannot buy that idealistic 50s 
neighborhood by moving to an expensive suburb, nor can an individual or small 
group create a sense of community in a void. One of the problems with our 
society as a whole is that we want that real neighborhood feel, but we don't 
want to put in the time to develop the relationships that give a neighborhood 
that authentic feel. There is some critical mass of individuals willing to 
behave in certain ways that foster community that is necessary to build and 
maintain a sense of community. In the same way, I don't think that you can buy 
sense of community by creating a co-housing community if everyone is willing to 
"buy in" financially, but no one is willing to agree to behave in specific, 
predetermined ways that build community. If the community depends too heavily 
too few individuals, then the community is weak, because it could not maintain 
it's sense of community if those individuals were to move away or have 
life-altering experiences.  


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