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.
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.
So imagine this, you’ve had a meeting of your community, forming or
formed, and you could hear some tension in the discussion. Roberto was
really not happy with the discussion. At process check-in the
facilitator asked if he was upset and he said he was fine, he just
needed time to mull over the facts.
And then the next day you get a call from Evonne and she is crying.
“Roberto just emailed me and he thinks I’m trying to destroy our
Shelly Parks of Covision Consulting joined us for her first WebChat and took us through the basics of shifting new members from explorer status to full member status. She explained the stages from defining your path with clear descriptions of what membership is and what is expected at every stage, to walking along with your explorer as they get acquainted and decide to join your community.