David Brooks writes in the NY Times (Jan 6) that buying a home is the most difficult decision in life. We don't choose a house so much as fall in love with it, he writes, and although we may envision a home with exotic things in which we will host large gatherings, most folks really seek privacy and tranquility. Lots of interesting angles here, true to David Brooks, but the real crux of this opinion piece - to me anyway - is his very last and almost lost comment at the end:
Permaculture’s 12 principles apply to human groups just as much as to any other ecological system. Here are some ways we can implement them in the social sphere:
1. Observe and interact. No matter how much you’re “starting” something, there’s an existing network of patterns. See what’s already happening. Participate in similar groups or processes, or ones from which you’ll be drawing participants. Write down observations day after day, and take the time to trace out patterns. You want to “nudge” the existing systems, not create new ones from whole cloth!
Join Laird at the 2017 National Cohousing Conference where he will present several sessions, including Power and Leadership.
I'm starting a blog series spotlighting the concept of power in cooperative culture. In the context of group dynamics—my main arena—power has to do with how people interrelate, but I want to start with the individual before interactions begin.
Peter Lazar, Coho/US President, Shadowlake Village (Blacksburg VA)
After World War Two, my grandmother and her husband fled Hungary as refugees to New York City with nothing but their suitcases. They got jobs at an assembly line in a paper cup factory and toiled for many years towards the American Dream. But their dream was cut short when my grandfather suddenly died of a heart attack in the New York public library. He left my grandmother alone to raise their young children while also working to get by.
There's a prevalent style of facilitation that's mostly passive—where the person running the meeting isn't doing much more than deciding who'll talk next, punctuated by the occasional need to blow the whistle, perhaps to signal that time has expired or to announce a restart, either to referee moments of fulminating tension or to cut through the fog of creeping chaos.
Katie McCamant, Nevada City Cohousing (California) + CoHousing Solutions
As we near the end of 2016, we who are so lucky to live in community have much to be grateful for; most importantly: good, caring neighbors who are willing to actively engage in the process of creating great neighborhoods to grow up in, and to age in.
As we ponder the state of the world this holiday season, it appears the art of conversation and dialogue is ever more important.
Joani Blank, a cohousing pioneer who passed last August, has continued her impact and influence through a legacy gift provided to Coho/US. We are pleased and humbled to receive this gift from the Joani Blank Trust. And inspired to do more to grow cohousing and nurture our communities!
I recently had the opportunity to speak before a City/County Planning Commission in support of Village Hearth Cohousing in Durham, North Carolina. Many of you will remember - or are gearing up for - addressing issues of parking, road access, home clustering and more, to obtain approval for building.
If helpful, I am sharing my remarks (attached) as Executive Director of the Cohousing Association of the U.S. My aim was to:
Philip Dowds, Coho/US Board Treasurer + Angela Sanguinetti, CRN Director
Cohousing Friends —
Coho Cost of Living Data Solicitation. Similar to efforts made in 2010-12, the Cohousing Research Network (CRN) and CohoUS are collaborating on a “cost of living in cohousing” research project. Our intent is to collect new and more detailed information on community budget and finance, and make a report at the May 2017 National Cohousing Conference in Nashville.