Alice Alexander's blog

Unpacking Impacted Tensions

As a professional consultant in group dynamics I rarely get asked to work with a group when everything is going fine. Usually they're leaking oil, have a busted leaf spring, or can't seem to shift into third gear—and are hoping for inexpensive repairs from me, the itinerant shade tree mechanic.

Overcoming Inertia
First of all, it can be awkward admitting (to a stranger, no less!) that your group has troubles that it's not able to navigate on its own. For most of us that's a humbling admission.

Is it Cohousing? Dorms for Grownups

R. Philip Dowds is commenting on the Atlantic Magazine article: Dorms for Grownups: A Solution for Lonely Millennials? In a new model of living, residents will have their own “microunits” built around a shared living space for cooking, eating and hanging out.
The single family home, and the condominium within a professionally managed building, remain our two primary models for residential accommodation. Of late, there is considerable — although not yet widely accepted — experimentation in variations that involve less privatized amenity and more shared common facility. In the eldercare sub-market, retirement housing, assisted living and congregate care have advanced in sophistication; the floor plan shown in the Atlantic article might be dorm-like for the youthful, but would be understood as a variant of congregate care if serving seniors.

Culture of Appreciation

The "blue team" shows off their synchronized swimming moves during the Nevada City Cohousing Summer Olympics.

Reposted from Katie's Insights via CoHousing Solutions
Living in community, we have an opportunity to create a culture of appreciation, or not. This doesn't happen casually. I consider myself a typical cohouser, in that, if you ask me, I'm guaranteed to have an opinion. But sometimes we don't need more opinions, we just need people to appreciate our efforts. In my community, Nevada City Cohousing, we found ourselves overwhelmed with too many opinions after move-in, ten years ago. Everyone wanted a say on everything. We had to consciously tell ourselves "assume best intent," rather than questioning why someone or some committee did this or that.

Keep affordable housing from being an elephant in the room

Silver Sage Village in Boulder, Colorado consists of 10 market rate and six affordable homes.

The Dealing with Diverse Personalities retreat is coming up st the end of September – there’s still time time to sign up. It’s not for the faint of heart.

Like dealing with issues of housing affordability, it’s not an easy topic to discuss since it requires people to step out of their comfort zones.

Most affordable housing discussions are about density and development scale, parking, traffic, grants, public / private partnerships – the “stuff” of affordability.

In Community: You Need Not Reinvent the Wheel

Mountain View Cohousing, California
Trudeslund, Denmark

Cohousing in Denmark was catapulted into success with the collaboration of the very capable architect Jan Gudmand Hoyer and the architectural firm Vandkunsten. Their idea was inspired by the article titled "Children Should Have One Hundred Parents," by Bodil Graae. Using a village model they created a cohousing community that invited its residents to live autonomously but together -- making the thesis of the article a reality. When the community was completed, a multitude of visitors walked into that village and said to themselves, "Now I could live here. I'm going to go home and make one of these in my town."

What's it Like to Grow Up in Cohousing? Fairies and Friendship

One of my favorite pastimes is to build fairy houses in the woods with my friend Ally. We design and build houses out of materials we find in the woods- like pine cones and bark. We’ve become rather skilled at it and have been working on a mini cohousing village called Redwood Village. It is complete with a common house and several other structures. Ally and I have been improving this particular fairy village for nearly a year, and when there is nice weather, we go out and work on it. Last weekend, we got a surprise.

Aging Alone: The place to start when seeking a cohousing community

When aging alone and assessing places to live, the first thought an individual has, “How can I create an environment where I’m safe, independent, and not isolated?” That’s usually followed by, “And can I afford it:”

It’s a collective thought that’s heard in the elder orphans Facebook group designed for people like me, over sixty and growing older without a spouse, partner, or grown children. It’s quite a predicament that close to 30 percent of the 60 and over population face in U.S. metros.

Sociocracy Leadership Training

The use of sociocracy as the governance system and form of decision making in communities is growing. In the last few weeks I have talked to members of Champlain Valley Cohousing, Ten Stones Cohousing and East Village Cohousing in Vermont, Belfast Cohousing in Maine, Cambridge Cohousing in Massachusetts all of whom use some or most of the elements of sociocracy.

Global Compassion: Cohousing is Part of the Movement

I’m back from Star Island off the coast of New Hampshire – a week long intentional community of 300 - where I took a workshop on “global compassion.” I’m personally motivated to help create a society of caring, that puts compassion into action, that can reach across the globe to reduce human suffering, address food and water shortages, heal divides, alleviate climate change – and create joy!

Cohousing: Potential to Provide Well Built Homes at Lower Cost

For those people following this thread on affordability… the issue of affordability is not limited to cohousing. For anyone considering new construction of any sort, you will do well to build for $180 per sf or less (and that takes modular construction options into account). In addition to the actual construction of your unit and the common space, you have to pay for site work, not to mention actually buying the land you will be building on....One way cohousers reduce cost is that the developer’s fee (15% is not unusual) if often waived when one or more “burning souls” decide that it is so important to build that they will do the work a professional developer does for no cost (this is not a path I have seen work well, but it is a way some groups save money)....

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