Communities designing their common houses often ask about what they will need. What do people really use? What kind of storage is needed and what will go in it? Is an office necessary and for what? They don’t know about storage for 8 snow shovels or 6 different kinds of brooms and mops.
We evolved to thrive as social-able creatures, back when tribal cultures thrived or failed based on collective action. The experience of loneliness is plaguing greater populations than ever today, from millennials out on their own for the first time to high-rise big-city dwellers to empty-nesters and those aging alone or isolated. "Cohousing really builds into our daily lives more of the connections that have withered away," a recent TIME magazine piece and related video says.
Today is Jeff Zucker's last day on the Coho/US Board, and a good time to thank him for his service! Jeff joined the board in late 2013, when the organization was contracting, with multiple challenges. He was one of just six board members when I became Executive Director in April 2014, and the only one who wasn't imminently terming off! Thankfully, board members Bill Hartzell, Laura Fitch and Dick Kohlhaas agreed to serve through the 2015 conference, providing critical stability.
The six degrees of separation theory was first proposed in 1929 by the Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy in a short story called "Chains." Six degrees of separation is the idea that all living things and everything else in the world are six or fewer steps away from each other so that a chain of "a friend of a friend" statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps.
The U.S. Cohousing Association is a national organization but strives to acknowledge relevant happenings in the wider world related to cohousing. Last week, Elephant Journal, a grassroots news organization with a focus on mindful living, interviewed Steven Ablondi and Bryan Bowen about their work with Memel.Global based in South Africa. Of course, cohousing principles radiated throughout the conversation.
It's that time again... This website has grown, and it's time to think about the next iteration of the site. To do that, we ask ourselves, and you:
Who is coming to the website?
What do they want to find?
How could we organize things so that it all makes sense, and all the different people who are coming to the site can find and do what they want here?
To that end, here is a survey for you to fill out. Feel free to pass it around your communities!
A recent article on aging investigates cohousing's potential to address the loneliness dilemma many older adults encounter when faced with the prospect of aging in place, isolated. "What if your housing choices in later life could mitigate that isolation? What if loneliness were to be replaced with meaningful connections?" the piece asks.
Several years ago there was a post on Cohousing-L related to the community's legal documents that were written in "legalese." I had recently researched Plain English for Lawyers for a neighbor. She was a single parent trying to set up legal guardianship and financial oversight for her daughter in the event of her death or disability. She had asked me to read the document her lawyer prepared to see if there was anything she or her lawyer had missed.
Over the last several years I have served on the Cohousing Association of the US Board of Directors and it's
been an absolute delight! My term will be ending the end of this year.
The board meets monthly by phone and with a well-crafted meeting by our executive
director, Karin Hoskin, we move expediently through business on behalf of the
communities within the National Cohousing Association. It's been a delight to work with
my fellow co-housers representing regions around the nation. And during conferences
we've been able to meet and hear more about one another personally as well as our
shared interests in the continued growth of cohousing.
I love to see communities reusing old stuff in a unique way.
Recently when visiting Greyrock Commons in Fort Collins Colorado, I had the pleasure of touring their common house. Not only do they have the absolute-most-coolest-ever-indoor-kids-play-area, but they had lovely wooden floors in their dining space. It turns out that I have a long ago connection to those floors as they were recovered during demolition from an old roller rink that I used to skate at when I was a kid!
Another nice reuse was the using of beetle kill pine wood that Wild Sage Cohousing in Boulder, Colorado used when building their bee hives.
What kinds of things has your community reused or upcycled?