One of the joys of working for the Cohousing Association is supporting the movement that is cohousing. We believe that cohousing is about more than what is achieved by any one community and more than the sum of those individual achievements. The collective potential of cohousing is literally to change the world. As cohousing grows, climate change is reduced. As cohousing expands, democracy regains the ability to bring our nation together. As cohousing thrives world leadership becomes inspiring, collaborative and connectional.
Strong facilitation makes for effective and efficient meetings. One ticky part is the balance between the need for strong leadership and the need to be an equal member of the community. This is where contracting comes into play. A facilitator needs a clear agreement with the community about their roles in the meeting and what will happen at the meeting. Good contracting helps balance power and keep participants engaged.
In this WebChat, Karen describes contracting and give examples of implementation.
Last week's webchat with architect Grace Kim was full of useful information. Whether you are already using your common house or are in the design phase, taking time to think about acoustics and learning how to make them work well will add enjoyment and possibly participation to your common meals and other events.
Grace offers great tips on strategies and materials that keep sound at comfortable levels and she tells us what doesn't work and why.
I would like to say that mine is a household where celery never goes limp in the crisper. That whenever bread gets stale and milk sours, I miraculously combine them into a delicious bread pudding. Hah. While I may have great aspirations to using every last scrap of food, the plain truth is that in actuality, I fall far short of this goal.
Sharon Villines, Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
Q: How many communities out there have switched from a unanimous decision-making process to one where there is a real desire for every voice to be heard but if a community becomes stuck and a unanimous decision cannot be reached another method is employed.
In community, and in life, there are many personality types and many ways for those personalities to clash despite everyone’s best intentions to get along. There is a framework from the theory of Imago Relationships that distills this down into two general patterns. I find it useful for understanding a lot of interpersonal conflict and in particular classic conflict patterns for cohousing.
Is there another way to create cohousing? Many of our wonderful cohousing communities have been built on a foundation of member investment with a great deal of support from building professionals. In this week's WebChat, Alan O'Hashi considers a variety of paths to cohousing.
Yana Ludwig's second WebChat was another great success. This time she tackled the topic of Cooperative Culture, giving us 6 of her 10 strategies for being effective in cooperative governance. Yana begins with an introduction to the extremes of the cooperative spectrum and the dangers of overcompensating. Then she guides us toward balance in the middle.
Her 6 shared strategies:
1. Accurate hearing of self and others.
If you can't accurately hear, you can't accurately care.