Alice Alexander's blog

Many Thanks to These Communities who have Given to Coho/US

Walnut Commons in Santa Cruz sent this delightful note with a gift: “our community is just a few months in our new building and we have many expenses as we settle in….we do see the value of Coho/US and hope that in the future we may do more.” How wonderful! If your community has not given please consider; to help with community conversations visit Budgeting Time & Considering Gifts http://www.cohousing.org/node/2727

Many Thanks to These Cohousing Communities Who Have Given to Coho/US....

Closing Contact with the Third Rail of Distress

Almost all people living in intentional community—as well as those aspiring to—value good communication. After all, the heart of community is relationship and that's pretty hard to develop and sustain with weak communication.
That said, all conditions under which communication is attempted are not equal. Some are way more challenging than others. In particular, one of the hardest is when one or more people are experiencing serious distress. In fact, the higher the voltage, the more uncertain and potentially explosive the connection becomes—to the point where it's questionable whether even to attempt it because:

Mecklenburg Times: ‘Cohousing’ movement appeals to homeowners seeking fellowship

A recent cohousing attempt in Charlotte has fizzled....Roger Grosswald, a 70-year-old commercial real estate manager, worm farmer and food waste-reduction consultant, formed a Yahoo group two years ago to spark interest here. The SouthPark resident says about 70 members joined. Before running into zoning and financing issues, Grosswald planned to build 33 units on each of two parcels on a 26-acre hardwood-forested plot he owns in the Hickory Grove area off of Robinson Church Road. Members were excited about the project, Grosswald says, which was designed for multigenerational and senior housing in a mixture of triplexes, apartments and single-family homes. “It’s loud and clear that people want this type of community,” he said of successes around the country. “If you build it, you fill it in a moment.”

Durham Coho Wins 2014 Golden Leaf Award

Durham Coho is proud to have been selected to receive a 2014 Golden Leaf Award, thanks to a nomination from our architects Ellen Weinstein and Ken Friedlein. http://www.wfarchitecture.com/
This is a big win, given we were in the toughest category of "large development," with 7 submittals from such entities as Duke University and the Durham Bulls Park. I like to think the judges took into account our creativity and community-building. We purchased an infill-lot last used for a tire service shop that required environmental clean up. The half-acre lot is now home to our 4-story intentional community of 37 cohousers. We are arguably part of downtown Durham’s revitalization; we enjoy the abundant opportunities to be part of a re-emerging neighborhood of local food restaurants, a central park and farmers market, and music venues.

Group Works: Power Shift

This entry continues a series in which I'm exploring concepts encapsulated in a set of 91 cards called Group Works, developed by Tree Bressen, Dave Pollard, and Sue Woehrlin. The deck represents "A Pattern Language for Bringing Life to Meetings and Other Gatherings."
....Critical awareness and transparency around existing power differences can, if held well, allow the group to adapt authority structures to best reflect their values or serve their aims. Sharing power isn't always easy, but the rewards for groups who do so can be profound....

Fear of Regret as a Stumbling Block to Committing to Cohousing

I received this email from Leah Fisher in response to my opening "Alleviating Fear" article in Cohousing Now! eNews (#71, 10/28/14). Leah makes a compelling case for "fear of regret" as a stumbling block in committing to cohousing, and suggests, "Support for dealing effectively with these concerns could be of great value to prospective members."
Dear Alice,
I was very drawn to your article about Fear related to co-housing, but I would like to suggest a more fundamental fear that I understand as a psychotherapist and that I experience personally with regard to co-housing. It is this: Fear of Regret. [please read more]

Cohousing: Alleviating Fear

I was struck by Marilynne Robinson's assertion in a recent issue of NY Times Magazine (10/5/14): "Fear has, in this moment, a respectability I've never seen in my life." She was referring to what she thinks is a "default posture" of human beings: fear. This recalled for me a presentation at Shadowlake Village that included a slide on safety. I thought: how smart to address, our "default" concern of navigating a dangerous world. Fear may be the motivator for questions among those seeking cohousing: is it safe? can I feel secure? We are all looking to alleviate fears and live in a safe and secure environment. [read more]

Why Cooperative Groups Fail to Accept Offers of Help

I'm currently immersed in four days of FIC organizational meetings, where a key focus has been how to make better connections with others trying to build cooperative culture. Essentially, those of us with deep familiarity in community living believe that we're learning something in the crucible of that experience that has wide application—in neighborhoods, in the workplace, in schools, and in churches—yet we're frustrated with the lack of invitations to share what we know. What's going on?

Aging Successfully in Cohousing - Workshop Report

Last week in Nevada City, a team of over 20 attendees – having traveled from as far away as Brazil – participated in a week-long workshop on Aging Successfully in senior cohousing. The concept stems from a workshop in Denmark that is designed to set seniors up for success, called Study Group One. The approach is outlined in Charles Durrett’s book, Senior Cohousing: A Community Approach to Independent Living. Participants included development professionals, architects and people who are already working on or want to start their own cohousing communities.

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