|developmental stages of cohousing||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Rebecca Reid (rreidcohousing.com)|
|Date: Thu, 11 Aug 2011 14:32:13 -0700 (PDT)|
I have been noticing some changes at Pioneer Valley recently, and I would like to know if other communities have experienced anything similar. I have a theory about it that I would like to run by you and see what you think. Gradually, over the past few years I have noticed several things: one, that there is less participation in community business and decisions, as well as meals. Two, that there is a small core of people who continue to be interested in and work hard on things like the decision making process (planning meetings, deciding agendas, improving community conversation), membership process (waiting list, new member orientation), long range planning, and devoting time to policy and generally improving the process aspects of the community. These people often stay on coho-l because they are interested in cohousing as a concept, as change agent, and they want to share ideas with other communities. There is also a small core of people who are dedicated to the physical aspects of the community; they keep things repaired and running smoothly. (I don't know where they fit into this theory of mine). The rest of the members (and this is a relatively large group) are content to live here and have busy lives, rarely come to meetings and seem to be happy with the way things are running, or don't have time to think about it. They generally do their work requirement and continue to be good neighbors. They come to a meeting if the topic directly concerns them. Obviously these are not clearly delineated groups; someone can be invested in some community issue and become a burning soul on that issue, etc. But generally seems to be a division between people who work hard on the community itself, and people who basically just want to live there. The "workers" tend to be retired people, who have been there for a long time--many are original founders. Many have been doing the same community jobs for years and are getting burnt out on doing them, complaining about how few people go to meetings, pay attention to their email, volunteer for this or that, etc.
From the side of the "workers" the "livers" look apathetic. From the side
of the "livers", the "workers" look like nags and workaholics. I wonder if this isn't a developmental stage for cohousing communities that looks like this: A bunch of people who like to work collaboratively on creative projects get together and create a cohousing community. They enjoy the work, the challenge, the satisfaction of seeing the project grow. Then they enjoy improving and tweaking and changing it as they learn more and more about better ways to do things, and they enjoy adapting it as it naturally changes. Other people join because they want a nice neighborhood with good neighbors and happy kids and dinner cooked for them regularly. At first everyone is involved in this creative process. Then, the people who joined because they wanted a nice neighborhood gradually stop being involved with the creative endeavor and settle into the neighborhood. The founders and others who joined them in the creative process continue to work and think hard about improving it, when--and this is my biggest question-it may no longer be necessary. Maybe these people are holdovers from the stage of community creation, and have not caught up to the new phase, which is to just live in it. The "workers" are afraid that it will become just another condominium, the "livers" point out that it's a lot better than that and actually works very well. I myself am about to leave Pioneer Valley because I didn't join for the nice neighborhood, but mainly for the joy and excitement of creating of a better way of life. I want to continue working on this with other people who are also excited by the challenge, and living at Pioneer Valley feels likebeating a dead horse, as they say. I want to feel like I am working on something
together, and it may be that this desire of mine is no longer appropriate. If the horse is dead, maybe it was at the end of its life anyway. Maybe old-timers need to get swapped out, and let the community pass into a new phase: contented neighborhood. Maybe meetings aren't necessary; maybe consensus process is too time consuming; maybe houses can go onto the open market and whoever comes will be great. The community will still be fine-it will just be different. Rebecca ReidPioneer Valley
developmental stages of cohousing Rebecca Reid, August 11 2011
- Re: developmental stages of cohousing Craig Ragland, August 11 2011
- Re: developmental stages of cohousing Sharon Villines, August 12 2011
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