Ted Rau, co-founder of Sociocracy for All presented our WebChat last week on Meeting Agendas and Minutes. Read the summary below and watch the full WebChat at this link https://youtu.be/J7HrsF3PXhk
A backlog tracks topics between meetings. It is a complete list of topics to be addressed by the committee or group. Keep this list up to date both by adding topics as they are submitted or suggested and removing them when they are complete.
I started Fair Oaks EcoHousing because I want to live in a friendly community where neighbors know and care about each other. I think we need more neighborhoods like that!
1. It was Love at First Sight
In Fall 2003, I visited my friend Don’s home in downtown Sacramento. When I looked out his kitchen window, I saw a number of other homes facing each other, all with porches, and all facing a beautiful shared green. One of the homes was much larger. My mind was blown. I asked my friend to explain. He said he lived in cohousing. I said “Co-What?”
For our 10th WebChat, Architect Laura Fitch walked us through the process her home community, Pioneer Valley Cohousing, uses for Design Review. In other words, how the community considers requests from members to make changes to the exterior of their homes.
We were excited to have Laird back for our first returning WebChat presenter. He took on the topic of participation, which is, as he says, the single most common challenge facing intentional communities he works with. Participation refers to the non-monetary contributions people make to communities and it tends to get messy.
That second question matters and may be worthy of review. In the broader culture of the US, there is a lot of focus on tasks, work and material accomplishments. This is good. We like beautiful flower beds, roofs that don’t leak and clean common house kitchens. The work does need to be done. But why do it together? Why not hire it out? Why not let each person contribute on their own schedule?
There’s a funny thing about cohousing.
When you look at typical cohousing marketing, you see messages about what it is like to live in community: private homes, shared common space, know your neighbors. But when you ask people why they live in cohousing, the conversation goes someplace else: Cohousing supports democracy, it makes me a better person, it improves communication and leadership skills in our children, I’m able to give support to my neighbors.
Cohousing community members begin with some basic assumptions. We expect to do some downsizing. We know we will be sharing space and will need to make some comprises about how we use that space. We plan to reduce our impact on the planet and increase our social connections. These tend to be shared assumptions and overall, all these things happen in every cohousing community.
There are a lot of good reasons to hire professional help in cohousing. From areas of focused study like architecture and relationship skills, to the wisdom gained through experience working with many cohousing communities, there is much knowledge a consultant can share that would come at a much higher cost through trial and error. It is this knowledge most communities consider when they are thinking of hiring, but there is a whole other set of reasons to hire an outside professional that communities are wise to take into account.