Alice Alexander's blog

Laird's Blog - Stop Spinning Your (Roulette) Wheels When Making Personnel Decisions

We're talking about intentional communities, right? Then doesn't it make sense to be intentional about filling positions of responsibility?

Overwhelmingly, intentional communities can think up governance structures faster than they can staff them....it's essentially universal that communities have more committee slots than people who are actively and competently filling them. There are, I believe, a number of factors that contribute to this phenomenon. Here are five:

When Does a Private Issue Become a Group Issue?

When people create intentional community they are purposefully choosing a culture that is shifted more toward the "we" end of the spectrum and away from the "I" end. People living in community are, by design, opting for a social reality in which their lives will be more interwoven with those of fellow members and less autonomous. In consequence, there will be a number of decisions that you may be used to making solely as an individual (or as a household) that you are now obliged to work out with fellow community members—because your choices may impact others, and you've agreed that you're in this together. Let me walk you through this.

Aria Cohousing Community Tour - Denver Dec. 13

Do you want to learn about joining the Denver’s newest
cohousing community? Join us for the Aria Cohousing Community
Tour on Saturday, December 13th (11:30am Presentation & Tour,
12:30pm Potluck). The Aria Cohousing Community is forming and is
actively recruiting more members.

2015 National Cohousing Conference: Save the Date May 29-31

The National Cohousing Conference promises an amazing lineup of offerings, from innovative approaches to developing new and affordable communities, to potent ways to enhance our vibrant communities. We’ll cover cohousing basics as well as hot topics in sustainability, community building, and the evolving definition of cohousing. Our “next generation theme” will explore the new wave of urban, senior and agricultural communities, check-in with our now-adult children of cohousing, and celebrate communities that have thrived for over 20 years. A packed agenda yes, but the conference allows plenty of time for networking, tours, and fun! Read more for details and sneak preview of the sessions.

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....

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