I’m Ann Zabaldo, one of the Principal Partners in Cohousing Collabortive, LLC, the sponsor of this blog. I not only build cohousing communities … I live in one. (In our business model … you eat your own dog food …)
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for describing community.
All over our country, people of all faiths are sitting down to pretty much the same dinner. In households everywhere will be the burnt casserole, the wail of “Oh, no! The turkey didn’t defrost!!” tofurky or Chinese take-out on the table. There will be spilt milk, frayed tempers, long standing arguments rekindled, Macy’s T’giving Day parade, too many football games, “A Christmas Story” endlessly playing on cable TV for at least 24 hours, hugs, kisses and … a few tears on arrivals and departures.
In the end we will eat too much, laugh too hard at really old jokes, tell too many stories and collapse in good will for a night’s slumber.
I love all the mishegas (insanity, craziness) surrounding Thanksgiving with “the family.”
Sometimes, when looking at the sturm and drang of the world, I am challenged in the gratitude department. As I look ahead to 2013 I am optimistic and anxious simultaneously.
What to do?
In the end my grounding is in the relationships and bonds of community.
Keeps me from toppling over.
I have much for which to be grateful!
To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven. — Johannes A. Gaertner
Living in community challenges me — gives me the opportunity – everyday to live in gratitude. Living in community has stretched me in every way possible. My “growing edge” has grown tremendously in these last 12 years living in Takoma Village here in Washington, DC. Living in cohousing has given me a “family” and a set of real friends.
So, whatever “family” and “friends” mean to you … on this Thanksgiving Day … let us lift a glass of whatever we drink and make a toast to: Family who are Friends and Friends who are Family.
Safe travels if you are on the road, riding the rails, in the air, or cruising the waters.
Wishing you an abundant and Happy Thanksgiving Day!
Ever grateful member of Takoma Village Cohousing, our larger Takoma neighborhood in northwest Washington, DC, and a partner in my cohousing development company.
“Thanksgiving at the Trolls” CreativeCommons
For what are you grateful for living in your community?
How will your community celebrate Thanksgiving this year?
If all goes well, in the sweet little neighborhood of Mt. Airy in northwest Philadelphia, lies the future of home of Wissahickon Village Cohousing. The 10 households who make up the current membership want to build a 32 home green and sustainable community on a property owned by Iron Stone Strategic Capital Partners, a real estate investment and development company that identifies and rehabilitates distressed properties. An historic home, the Garrett-Dunn House, that once graced the property, burned down.
Iron Stone already has approval to build a 32 mixed townhouse and condo building complex on the site. Andrew Eisenstein, principal and founder of Iron Stone, became interested in the possibility of cohousing at the site when he was approached by WVC member, Melissa Klein. “I was intrigued enough by the concept of cohousing described to me to find out if my current plan was adaptable to the cohousing model” said Eisenstein, “and if not, what other design might be appropriate for the site.”
WVC has hired Cohousing Collaborative, LLC to create an initial site plan to demonstrate that the site will accommodate a cohousing community as envisioned by the members. Cohousing Collaborative will also help the community negotiate the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding with Iron Stone should both parties agree to move forward. One of the many things that Cohousing Collaborative is doing for the group is educating them about the development process so they can make informed decisions. “We had come a long, long way organizing ourselves to take on creating a cohousing community in Philadephia.” said Klein. “We got to a spot where we needed help figuring out the next right thing to do. That’s why we turned to Cohousing Collaborative.”Jack Wilbern, Cohousing Collaborative, leading workshop programming and design session.
Cohousing Collaborative principals, Jack Wilbern and Ann Zabaldo spent one and a half days in an intensive workshop over the Labor Day weekend focused on two outcomes: a series of rough sketches of possible site configurations and an action plan for the next tasks including a “Pitch Package” for the developer. The 1.5 day intensive workshop produced four possible sketches. The group also brainstormed a Plan of Action and Next Steps for the next 45 days. “I was gratified to see that two of the four sketches appear to work very wel for cohousing” said Wilbern who is also an architect and who led the programming and site design portions of the workshop. “The group had excellent suggestions for translating their vision of cohousing into an actual working drawing.”
The group is moving ahead quite rapidly. “We were thrilled with the progress we made this past weekend. Challenging process … and thrilled,” said Vanessa Lowe, a long time Philly resident and WVC member. According to Bob Bernstein, himself an architect in Philly, “…we’re no where near ‘final’ on any of these drawings so it’s a good time to join in. There’s still lots to do to design our community — both the bricks n’ mortar and the social aspects.”
In the same way that Cohousing Collaborative is educating the WVC members, they are also clarifying the benefits and the particulars of working with a forming cohousing community to Iron Stone. “One of the great joys of working in cohousing is working with experienced developers new to the cohousing model,” said Zabaldo. “Once they understand the benefits of the model to the developer — and there are many – they are ‘sold’ on it.”
Want to live in cohousing in the “City of Brotherly Love?” You can find out more about Wissahickon Village Cohousing by calling Libby: 215-842-3949. Or email: info@WissahickonVillageCoho.comMembers Wissahickon Village Cohousing Related articles
- Cohousing principles
- Cohousing: The secret to sustainable urban living?
- A Little Levity for Cohousers Everywhere
- Green Living Options
Grant Snider may be studying to be an orthodontist but that doesn’t stop him from having quite a wry wit about ordinary things. He is the artist behind the comic poster series Incidental Comics.
In his comic poster on architecture, Snider takes a look at what architects are REALLY saying.
How did he get the inspiration for drawing this poster? According to Snider, “ I didn’t feel like sitting at my drawing table for this week’s comic. I decided to walk outside and sketch my neighborhood!”
Just so you don’t think we’re targeting architects … we’ve included another of Snider’s posters about planning. Check out all of Snider’s posters on his website. He has all of his posters archived. Be warned! You can get lost in Incidental Comics for a long, long time! Check Incidental Comics every week for a new poster.
A hint: if you’re dealing with professionals who speak “jargon-ese” order one of Snider’s posters to hang up in a meeting as a humorous way of reminding them to speak English. Or Spanish, Portuguese, or Japanese! He has posters in several languages!!
Did these bring you some smiles today?Related articles
- Quote-Inspired Illustrations – The Grant Snider ‘Dancing About Architecture’ Comic is Adorable (TrendHunter.com)
- Suburban planning [comic]
- Sustainable Housing: Co-ops
- Green Living Options
As if you needed yet another video supporting your belief that community and connectedness are the two fundamental qualities of life for which people on the planet are yearning.
Yet … here it is. Tom Shadyac’s I Am.
In I AM, Shadyac asks two questions:
What’s wrong with our world?
What can we do about it?
What he ends up finding out is … oops! don’t want to give this away!
“Shadyac also discovers that, contrary to conventional thinking, cooperation and not competition, may be nature’s most fundamental operating principle. Thus, I AM shows consensus decision-making is the norm amongst many species, from insects and birds to deer and primates. The film further discovers that humans actually function better and remain healthier when expressing positive emotions, such as love, care, compassion, and gratitude, versus their negative counterparts, anxiety, frustration, anger and fear. Charles Darwin may be best known for popularizing the notion that nature is red in tooth and claw, but, as Shadyac points out, he used the word love 95 times in The Descent of Man, while his most famous phrase,survival of the fittest, appears only twice.” (From the film’s promo on the I AM website.)
We in cohousing already know all of this. Still, it’s refreshing to see the rest of the world catching up to us in such a delightful way. And this video can be very useful when talking to the “powers that be”about how cohousing can enhance everyone’s life throughout the community not in just the cohousing community. There’s a wonderful section in the film about collaboration and empathy and connectedness that makes the case for cohousing . With its provocative questions, the film can be used for education and outreach about the benefits of living in community.
Why am I writing about this today? Because for a very, very, very short time you can see this film for FREE on Gaiamtv.com. The company is offering a 10-Day trial for viewing films on its website. Yes, you have to sign up. Yes, you have to have an account secured with a credit card AND you can cancel any time within the 10 days. So you can see a lot of films for free! After that … like Netflix it’s $9.95 per month. (The film is also available on Comcast, DirectTV, DishTV, and a host of other cable and satellite providers — but you gotta pay for it …)
Here’s the trailer.
What do you think?
What’s RIGHT with our world?
- What it is to be human.
- I AM (Full Documentary)
- Change Your Story, Change the World: Yes, You!
- I AM a movie everyone needs to see!