Twenty-Six Years into our North Carolina Experiment with Cohousing

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.

We adopted our covenants and by-laws in 1994, the year of our ground-breaking, and now, in 2017, we are reviewing them and updating them with the changes we have adopted using consensus since then, sometimes in response to challenging situations, not considered before moving in together. We keep tweaking the system to remain responsive to inevitable change and newly discovered edges. What amazing lessons in discovering un-imagined levels of diversity and varied expectations! We often express appreciation for Arcadia being a dynamic work-in-progress, remaining curious, balancing tolerance and safety, work and play, group and individual.

Even though our Common House meals have decreased to about weekly, neighborly meals, Happy Hours, weekly game nights, and regular work parties continue to bring us together. Our annual theater production, directed by Norma, has been a playful crucible for on-going relationship building, as have been group projects, like building our community bike sheds and renovating our Common House deck, led by Giles. Our Common House and plaza have provided a loom for weaving our individual families and friends into a rich tapestry, as we celebrate birthdays, weddings, and graduations, host broader community groups like Girl Scouts, chorus, Buddhist workshops, and phone banking, and commemorate our ground-breaking, Harvest Feast, Day of the Dead, funerals and farewells.

Outside consultant Laird Schaub inspired us to create a community Values Statement just 4 years ago, which has become a touchstone for decisions and would have helped with various issues that have arisen since inception, and which us disparate independent folks may have needed 20 some years of planning and living together to be able to agree upon.

I so appreciate the opportunity to grow towards interdependence and to raise my son in this deep community; I am confident that he will share some of this co-housing richness with the wider world.