This Wired Magazine article recently published, Want to Survive Climate Change? You’ll Need a Good Community (authored by Eric Klineberg), underscores what we already know: that good neighbors and a resilient community can make all the difference in maintaining us through crisis.
Remember the blistering heat of 1995 that killed hundreds of people in Chicago? Statistical models were at a loss as to explain the high death toll. Although Chicago's aging infrastructure failed the entire city, it didn't explain the "patchwork death toll." Why did some neighborhoods fare better than others? Turns out, "social infrastructure" was the most important variable to explain the pattern of mortality.
David Entin, Rocky Hill Cohousing (Northampton, MA)
Approximately seventy-five cohousers, researchers, aspiring cohousers, and graduate students attended a symposium on elder cohousing research in Wilmington, North Carolina, on October 27, sponsored by the College of Health and Human Services of the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and AARP. Among the presenters were Alice Alexander, Executive Director of the Cohousing Association of the US, and Angela Sanguinetti, Director of the Cohousing Research Network.
....What if the typical characteristics of cohousing were applied to an urban community consisting of not only housing but a mix of businesses and public uses?
A small group of cohousing, mixed use visionaries, including myself have started a 20 acre project on the urban fringe of Cheyenne, Wyoming called the Lincoln Court. We’re laying cohousing approaches over a high density, mixed use community anchored by a city owned and operated indoor ice rink and a proposed indoor sports complex. It’s a grassroots project that will come about as a result of a high degree of consensus among the future community denizens:
"We evolved to live in community, and that seems to be the scale where we can best navigate the complexities of life-experiences of people not like us, the fragility and resilience of the web of life that surrounds us. When we live connected to a community, we are more likely to become champions for one another, not just for ourselves. It's a small step from there to becoming advocates for the larger community, even for the community of all life. From there, the idea of the common good is not so hard to grasp."
Nuturing Cohousing Communities to Help Them Thrive is one of three core areas of the Coho/US strategic plan. We offer abundant resources on our website, and encourage communities to search for successful practices on work share, meal participation, marketing, whatever. Also, see "New Resources" in each issue of Cohousing Now! eNews (bottom, right column). Offerings this month:
Recently I was conducting a facilitation training with co-trainer María Stawsky The weekends run from Friday morning through Sunday afternoon and are a mix of presenting material, answering questions, conducting practice exercises, and facilitating live meetings. That said, we emphasize the last approach above all others: devoting three-fourths of every weekend to having students prepare for, deliver, and evaluate the facilitation of real meetings—on the pedagogical theory that people tend to learn faster and more deeply if they're facing live ammunition.
Last month on Cohousing-L, a timely topic was sparked by the sharing of Courtney Martin's excellent New York Times article mentioning cohousing, Modern Housing with Village Virtues. How do cohousers get journalists to care about the topic? To really put in the research and get the facts right? To ensure the human element is carried through in quotable, relatable stories?
In 2000, Bryan Bowen was part of a team of architects working to design Wild Sage, a cohousing community of 34 townhouses in Boulder, Colorado….By the time Wild Sage was completed 12 years ago, Bryan and his wife, Dale Deegan, then pregnant with their first son, Eli, were among the residents moving in. Eli’s younger brother, Jesse, was actually born in the living room of their home, with the aid of a midwife who’s a member of the community and has helped deliver a half dozen other Wild Sage babies. “I can’t imagine leaving Wild Sage,” Bryan says.
Like the Cohousing Association of the U.S., the Fellowship for Intentional Community is dependent on charitable contributions. The FIC has launched a fundraising campaign that is focused on taking the organization to a new level. If you appreciate the FIC and would like to support their efforts to support intentional communities in all their forms, visit the FIC Fall Fundraising Campaign.
After two and a quarter years after move in, my Durham Cohousing is considering how to address turnover, when one of our members leaves the community. For many, the thought of valuable members leaving is disconcerting, as is the question of how to ensure new members will fit into the community, but we recognize the importance and necessity of being prepared.