Alice Alexander's blog

Resilience beyond one cohousing community

Editor's Note: Resilience is a theme of the 2017 National Cohousing Conference where Charles Durrett will be a featured presenter.

In 2008, friend and author Bill Thomas asked me to critique the manuscript of his first novel, The Tribes of Eden. "Tribes" is the story of a near future collapse of the American government and all of the country's institutions. What's left is chaos and unmitigated fear. A young mother happens upon a "shire" (think: cohousing community), where she and her family take refuge and flourish amidst the trust and the cooperation.

Facilitating by Intuition

I'm traveling to Durham NC where I'll be working with a cohousing community (my 61st if you're keeping score at home). I'll be using one of my favorite approaches: a four-day intensive immersion. After arriving Wed evening I'll get a good night's sleep and then begin work in earnest in the morning.

My time with the client group will divide into two distinct parts:

Segment I: Interviews
From Thursday morning through Friday afternoon I'll make myself available to meet with group members in ones, twos, and in teams. I'll ask questions, but mostly I'll listen.

Your Cohousing Association: Keeping Us Alive and Well

That title may have gotten your attention! Your Cohousing Association is, thank you, alive and well - but only as long as we receive financial support from our communities and individuals. Coho/US is by design a lean and mean organization; our financial needs are modest, but we do need steady support.
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Election Catharsis + Resolution on Refugee Resettlement Project

Our monthly cohousing meeting was the Saturday morning after the election. Many of us at Rocky Hill Cohousing gathered feeling sad, angry, upset, dazed, and fearful as a result of the election of Donald Trump for President. We began by watching a three minute old Monty Python video, “Dennis the Constitutional Peasant,” which seemed quite relevant as well as funny. We were indeed in need of some humor at this moment.

Political News & Being Grateful for Cohousing

Many of us are in shock with the national political news; others of us may feel pleasantly surprised.

It was helpful to me to listen to Margaret Manning morning show out of Geneva with "Sixty and Me," a global network of women whose organization would like to support cohousing, with her positive message of working together.

Why Vision & Values?

We know that our vision and our values, whether fully articulated or unconscious, have a powerful influence on the direction of our lives. In a cohousing project such as this, the careful articulation of our mutual vision and values will lead us to the kind of community we're seeking. It will set the stage for all the work that follows. It will guide us as we work with our architects and developers. It's a coming together, a forging together, building the beginning of our community.

Want to Survive Climate Change? You'll Need a Good Community

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.

Elder Cohousing Research Symposium: Combating Social Isolation

David Entin as grandfather with three generations of cohousers

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.

Collaborative Community: Layering Coho Cultural Fabric over Mixed Use Community in Cheyenne

....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:

Existing Communities: You Need Not Reinvent the Wheel

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:

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