Philip Dowds, Cornerstone Village Cohousing (Cambridge, MA)
Part I of this series described how Coho/US and CRN have co-ventured research into the annual budgets of cohousing communities; obtained the annual budgets of 20 communities comprising 611 units; and analyzed these budget materials to help develop some consistent interpretations of community budgeting practices. In this Part II, we present some of the actual numbers.
Becky Laskody, Arcadia Cohousing (Chapel Hill, NC)
Arcadia is a vibrant community 26 years into our central North Carolina experiment with the co-housing concept. The mix of woods with the portion that we disturbed to build upon has morphed into a magnificent suburban oasis, nurturing many species of flora and fauna, holding our little village.
The Cutting Edge Resiliency session I co-led with Bryan of Caddis bloomed into a thriving discussion about what strides we all realistically need to take to seriously combat climate change. We agreed that yes, individual numbers are important, but the power of the collective in community living is where cohousing offers the biggest opportunities.
...in the end … it’s all about sales. You can be ultra green, you can be super affordable, you can be cool, cool techy, you can have all kinds of bells and whistles but in the end … if you can’t sell it you will not have a community. This is for ALL real estate not just cohousing.
BECOME A KEY FACILITATOR IN INSPIRING AND EMPOWERING SENIORS TO:
Age in place successfully.
Understand the economics of senior living choices.
Take charge of co-care, co-healing, and outside assistance.
Strengthen the bond between body and soul, individual and community.
Appreciate the interlocking roles of community life and quality of life.
Work effectively to achieve common goals.
Create a meaningful living legacy that transcends the generations.
Not all topics are created equal. In the context of cooperative culture, some topics are much tougher to get at than others.
Here are half a dozen that I encounter regularly. These are by no means all, but they're representative. If your group consistently handles any two of these well, you're way ahead of the curve. (If not, I'm available for hire.)
I. How Power is Used in Cooperative Groups
Groups need to understand—and be able to talk authentically about—how power (influence) is distributed in the group.
As the incoming Executive Director, I’ll be spending time with Alice Alexander to make this transition as smooth as possible and since I’ll be back east to see her, I decided to see some more people! Today I’ll be flying from Colorado to DC, driving through five different states then flying home from North Carolina. I will have the opportunity to meet with Bill Hartzell and Ann Zabaldo who have been a big part of CoHoUS and cohousing in general. I also get to spend time with the current CoHoUS president Peter Lazar and of course with the outgoing executive director Alice Alexander.
When I cleared customs in Chicago, the Homeland Security guy was more interested in how my visit to South Africa went than the packaged beef Biltong – potential contraband – I had in my bag.
Biltong is sliced spiced meat, similar to jerky. Click on the image and check out my pilot episode about my South Africa impressions.
Dominic Castro-Wehr of Nevada City Cohousing and McCamant & Durrett Architects
On the bright side, the concept of Cohousing is becoming increasingly entrenched in the American imagination— with every new project, what was once a culturally radical and shot in the dark neighborhood experiment is now an empirically supported investment into well-being and sustainability.
Cohousing can be a lab for trying out the latest innovations to help us live lighter on the planet.
The goal of this year’s National Cohousing Conference was ambitious – building resilient, sustainable communities – yet I felt a universal reaching; so many of us wanting desperately to learn how to be even more climate conscious than we already are. Let’s not forget, living in community has inherent savings that decrease our carbon footprints. Owning just one lawnmower, sharing meals together in the common house (studies have shown a 25% or more reduction in whole-community energy use during common meals – the one big room being lit for the occasion), and not shuttling our kids way across town for playdates.