Rob Sandelin, a member of Sharingwood Community for nearly 30 years, was a prolific poster to the cohousing-l email discussion group, and positively influenced the development and growth of communities throughout the U.S. with his wisdom. Although he passed away nearly 2 years ago, his words continue to guide cohousing communities. Below is a post he made to our cohousing listserv back in 2005. Thanks to Marty Maskall of Fair Oaks EcoHousing for bringing it back to our attention.
For most families it is easy to imagine the benefits of sharing a cohousing community with other families with kids the same age. Naturally the kids will play together, the parents will have peers moving through the same stages together, and carpooling to activities is likely.
You may have heard that a new cohousing.org website is on its way. The website is a central part of the services The Cohousing Association of the US offers. As a clearinghouse of information and connecter of people and communities, our website is one of our most effective tools for doing what we do.
When I think about non-profit organizations, I mostly think of helping those who cannot help themselves - those suffering in some way from poverty or illness or both. So why would I support The Cohousing Association? Isn’t cohousing about the place you live? Aren’t most of the people who live there middle class or above? Why would I want to be part of an organization like that?
This story was written in 2003 and first published in David Wann's book Reinventing Community: Stories from the Walkways of Cohousing. We are republishing it here with permission because it is such a great example of how cohousing communities nurture and support beyond the community itself.
We’ve been living with foster children in our house for nine months. In many ways this experience has served to remind us just how supportive cohousing can be to those who live there and how far its influence can reach to improve the lives of people beyond our immediate neighborhood.
For any forming cohousing community, finding a building site is a big event. Skagit Cohousing is especially blessed to find land nurtured for the past 30 years by Ann and Bill Testerman. After raising their children (and many animals) on their 4 plus acres, Ann and Bill decided that in their retirement, it was time to downsize and adopt a lifestyle less tied to the land and nearer family. Many couples would consult a realtor, put up a "for sale" sign, look for the highest price purchaser, and be on their way. Bill and Ann do things differently.
Sharon Villines, Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
From the first thought of really living in cohousing, an essential requirement is being able to depend on each other to share the work. It's a collaborative effort and requires all hands on deck. If you don't know how to do something, learn. Even if your group is can afford to hire a development company, there are still many things that no one can do for you. Decision-making is one of the hardest because there are so many of them to be made. The "co-"in cohousing is "collaboration."
The Cohousing Association of the US was delighted to welcome longtime process professional, Laird Schaub for a WebChat on working with emotions. An audience of about 80 people including groups gathered in common houses to watch together.
The following question was asked on a WebChat on Oct 18, 2018. We didn’t have time to answer it there, so Karen is offering the answer here.
Is there a way to get folks who are extremely focused on "getting a lot done" -- especially leaders/facilitators who make very packed meeting agendas down to the minute and are worried that they need to build membership ASAP in order to get to actually living in community ASAP -- to slow down and focus on connection? Or, is this a basic mismatch of values and I should seek another community?