The Northeast Cohousing Summit is coming to Amherst, Massachusetts, and that sure brings back memories for me! Want to know why? Almost two decades ago, in October 1999, the National Cohousing Conference was hosted by two Amherst communities: my home community of Pioneer Valley Cohousing, and nearby Pine Street Cohousing. For three glorious days, people interested in cohousing – aspiring cohousers, professionals, and members of existing groups – descended on our communities and filled the air with their energy, enthusiasm, and curiosity about cohousing.
Great article on cohousing's benefits from a long-time resident, published in Business Insider last week.
"At our condo complex, we live a completely different lifestyle. It's common for neighbors to bring dinner to a table on the patio and eat together. We often pop into each other's homes to borrow something, to ask a question, or just to say hi.
DON’t GIVE UP THE DREAM - IT JUST MIGHT PAY OFF
The seed of cohousing along the Willamette River in Eugene was planted in 2011. Oakleigh
Meadow, LLC incorporated in 2012 . With design & architectural plans in our pocket and
membership interest growing solidly into the double digits, we were jazzed! OMC’s Planned
Unit Development application to the city of Eugene was approved in late 2013 and we
anticipated breaking ground by September 2014 . Then the clock got turned back.
Laura Fitch, Architect and Pioneer Valley Cohousing member
My community is hosting the Northeast Cohousing Summit! Come learn about how to develop a cohousing group or help your existing community thrive through changing times. Or just enjoy networking with some kindred spirits - that is the part I like best about the many cohousing conferences I've attended. I always come away from cohousing conferences with renewed enthusiasm for my community and my architectural design work.
"Old is new again in housing, from tight-knit neighborhoods where residents look after one another to fresh twists on boardinghouses. The hot word is communal..." begins a recent Parade Magazine piece, featuring communities like Capital Hill Urban Cohousing and Village Hearth. "How America Lives" brings cohousing to the mainstream public, and as in much of the recent prominent coverage of this topic - demystifies and celebrates this unique, collaborative housing type many of us live in/are in pursuit of.
Chuck Durrett of McCamant & Durrett Architects, NE Cohousing Summit Presenter
There is a senior housing crisis in this country. In the United States, traditional senior housing options aren’t meeting the needs of older adults. Many attempts to put seniors in community have proven to work short term, but funding and employee retention continue to strain these organizations. Senior support, like Meals on Wheels, drains local economies and is constantly at risk of being dropped, which could leave seniors without access to proper nutrition and socialization.
The world of cohousing includes generous and talented people spread all over the country. When they find each other, amazing things happen. Communities get needed members and cohousing seekers find new homes. Cohousing professionals get the work they need to remain focused on cohousing and communities become more effective in anything from site design to consensus process. The challenge is that connecting people who are spread all over the country can be tough.
Maybe someday we’ll figure out how to build communities that fix themselves. Until we manage that, join us at the NE Cohousing Summit this September to learn how to keep your community in good working order. From getting the work done, to making sure you have the money to pay for it, and even making needed changes, our Saturday sessions will give you tools for keeping your community vibrant, financially stable and in good working order.
Elizabeth (Liz) Magill, NE Cohousing Summit Presenter
Why can't we all just get along?
Some percentage of people who join a cohousing community do so because they want everyone to "just get along". Idyllic images of not just knowing your neighbors, but also of really liking to hang out with your neighbors flutter through our heads.
And then we move in. Or maybe the first break with that image happens before move-in. Maybe its an email that sets it off, or something that happens with the kids and you have different views of what to do about it or even different views as to what happened.