|Re: so is it cohousing?||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Fred H Olson (fholsoncohousing.org)|
|Date: Fri, 9 Feb 2007 04:54:20 -0800 (PST)|
Grace Kim <grace [at] schemataworkshop.com> is the author of the message below. It was posted by Fred the Cohousing-L list manager <fholson [at] cohousing.org> after resoring subject line. -------------------- FORWARDED MESSAGE FOLLOWS -------------------- I am writing in response to Rob Sandelin's comments: One of the interesting dynamics of developer driven community is when the people actually get into their homes, will they have the commitment and bonds to be a community? Community is not made by a building, it is a deliberate relationship that you enter into willingly and with purpose. Without that relationship, all the common elements in the world will not make a community happen. There are not a lot of developer driven communities yet, so it will be interesting to evaluate them in say 5 years after people move in, and see what happened. Intention is really important, and I have wondered how a developer would create intention if faced with a conflict between intention and sales. If sales are lagging, would the developer hold on to the intention, or would they bale. I have to admit that a few years ago I would have shared Rob's sentiment. However, I've visited more than 40 communities in Denmark, Pacific NW, and North Carolina since then and have realized that there are many benefits to developer led communities. In fact, several of the communities started in Denmark over 30 years ago were led by developers and are still vibrant and cohesive in their intention for community. The reality is that there are many communities that have seen significant turnover since their founding/move-in. And often the families that move into a newly completed community do not include the original founding members. The bonds created in the community over time create the cohesion necessary for a community to thrive over the long haul. I think the beauty of developer driven cohousing is that it puts the difficult job of dealing with financing, designing, construction into the hands of those who are accustomed to dealing with these issues. I've heard from countless groups that saw many members leave during the pre-construction phases over differences of how financing was effecting their ability to purchase a home in the community or how the group went about hiring (or not hiring) professionals. Having a developer (third party) handle the finances and construction helps the community focus on building their community - getting their policies, rituals, etc in place for the day they move in. How many communities have we seen posting to this list about organize meals, laundry, dues, etc. after they've moved in? When a developer is handling the mundane aspects of building the physical structure, the community can focus on the infrastructure to make their daily lives look more like their ideal of why they chose cohousing. Obviously, this implies that the families moving in are actively meeting and developing their community during pre-construction. I don't think this model works if everyone just buys a house from a developer, moves in, and then is expected to be a community the next day (the cottage housing communities designed by Ross Chapin & developed by the Cottage Company in the Pacific Northwest are a prime example of that). As I said, I was not a believer of this idea a few years ago and visiting Bellingham Cohousing (developed by Wonderland Hill and designed by McCamant & Durrett) changed my mind. This is a tight-knit community that was caring and compassionate, and much more cohesive than some of the more "traditional" cohousing communities that were self-developed. grace h. kim, aia principal schemata workshop 159 western ave west, #483 seattle, wa 98119 v.206.285.1589 f.206.285.2701 http://www.schemataworkshop.com
- So is it cohousing? Fred H Olson, February 8 2007
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