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How co-housing could make homes cheaper and greener - The Conversation AU

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The Conversation AU

How co-housing could make homes cheaper and greener
The Conversation AU
The Reserve Bank has suggested that “the answer… lies in more innovative and flexible use of the land that we have so that the marginal cost of adding more stock of dwellings is lower.” Co-housing – where a group of friends, extended family members or ...

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Residents hope to restore 'lost sense of community' with co-housing complicated - Standard Bulletin

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Residents hope to restore 'lost sense of community' with co-housing complicated
Standard Bulletin
REGINA – Co-housing is a expanding concept in Canada and now a group of community-minded residents are bringing it to Regina.When it opens in the fall of 2016, Prairie Spruce Commons will be our city's pretty very first co-housing unit, accommodating.

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Liz Walker is co-founder of EcoVillage in Ithaca. She is scheduled to speak ... - Standard Bulletin

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Liz Walker is co-founder of EcoVillage in Ithaca. She is scheduled to speak ...
Standard Bulletin
A neighborhood group aiming to create a cohousing neighborhood in Rochester by 2017 is hosting a speak on the collaborative housing movement by internationally recognized advocate Liz Walker. "She is a single of our national treasures when it comes to ...

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EcoVillage expert visits Rochester to discuss cohousing - Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

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Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

EcoVillage expert visits Rochester to discuss cohousing
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
A local group aiming to create a cohousing community in Rochester by 2017 is hosting a talk on the collaborative housing movement by internationally recognized advocate Liz Walker. “She is one of our national treasures when it comes to cohousing,” says ...

Co-housing option for older Canberrans faces development obstacles - Sydney Morning Herald

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Co-housing option for older Canberrans faces development obstacles
Sydney Morning Herald
That means co-housing with friends on a large block in our current neighbourhood rather than moving into an unfamiliar neighbourhood or making an early booking into a retirement complex. Co-housing may avert or at least postpone the health care option ...

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Co-housing option for older Canberrans faces development obstacles - WA today

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WA today

Co-housing option for older Canberrans faces development obstacles
WA today
That means co-housing with friends on a large block in our current neighbourhood rather than moving into an unfamiliar neighbourhood or making an early booking into a retirement complex. Co-housing may avert or at least postpone the health care option ...

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Co-housing option for older Canberrans faces development obstacles - Brisbane Times

Cohousing News from Google -


Co-housing option for older Canberrans faces development obstacles
Brisbane Times
That means co-housing with friends on a large block in our current neighbourhood rather than moving into an unfamiliar neighbourhood or making an early booking into a retirement complex. Co-housing may avert or at least postpone the health care option ...

and more »Google News

Cohousing, stessa "casa" per giovani e anziani: condividere è intergenerazionale - Il Fatto Quotidiano

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Cohousing, stessa "casa" per giovani e anziani: condividere è intergenerazionale
Il Fatto Quotidiano
Il cohousing, nato per condividere spese e spazi, inizia a svilupparsi in forme innovative in grado di avvicinare mondi fino a oggi troppo spesso lontani: quello degli anziani e quello dei giovani. E' proprio per valorizzare l'interazione tra queste ...

Google News

How to Write a Report

Laird's Blog -

There are all manner of occasions where people who are trying to function together need to share information, and this occurs in a wide variety of ways—including plenaries, committee sessions, staff meetings, one-on-one conversations, notices on bulletin boards, memos, informal chats around the water cooler, and even graffiti on the bathroom wall. In today's essay I want to focus on one particular kind of communication: a report. It's something that is relied on a lot, yet often with indifferent results.

One of the reasons why reports may be weak is a lack of clarity about what they're trying to accomplish, which can be any of the following, in almost any combination.

—What's happened; what have you accomplished?Put yourself in the shoes of the person reading the report. What level of detail is appropriate? Let me give you three examples of an annual report from Customer Service.

Example A
We resolved all complaints that came to us in the last 12 months.

Example B
We handled six complaints last year. Four were from women under 30; two were from men over 55. Three were from the East Coast; one from the Midwest, and two from California. Three came in the winter, two in the spring, and one in the fall. There were multiple complaints about sexist language on our website, and multiple complaints about our new 800 number. Four of the complaints were resolved within 30 days; one took 90 days; and one is still pending.

Example C
We fielded six complaints last year (one more than the year before, and well within our capacity with current staffing levels). Two trends were noteworthy: 

a) Three young women reported that they were offended by the sexist language on our website: using "he" for the third person pronoun when the gender was unknown, and an instance of "guys" when referring to unknown persons. We recommend that we make it editorial policy to use "they" for the third person singular when the gender is unknown, and eliminate "guy" from our vocabulary unless it is known that we're referring to men.

b) Three people reported that it took 15 minutes to reach a live person when using our new 800 number with automated voice options. As this comes across as institutional and impersonal (the very opposite of our customer service commitment), we recommend offering callers an option of speaking to an agent within a maximum of five minutes.

While A is obviously the quickest to read, it doesn't offer enough information to be useful as a management tool. Example B had a good deal more detail yet no discernment was used in winnowing wheat from chaff. Example C, while the longest, honed in on the data that was actionable. Reports are not meant to be a brain dump; they are meant to capture the highlights.

—Identifying issues
This could be problems, unexpected opportunities, or simply confusion. Perhaps something came up that calls into question whether you have sufficient authority to handle it it on your own and you'd like clarification. Maybe you need an adjustment to staffing levels, or your budget is inadequate to finish the year. If you want a response, be sure to ask for one, labeling it clearly (rather than burying it deep in the report).

A good report will not just identify issues; it will summarize relevant background information:
o  any current agreements bearing on this matter
o  the reasoning behind the current policy (if there is one)
o  how urgently is a decision needed
o  the budgetary impact of the suggested change
o  who are the identified stakeholders on this issue (so their input can be solicited)

—What's ahead
Sometimes a report will include analysis of trends, letting everyone know the consequences if things continue. By looking ahead of the curve, the group can look at the issue and consider a response before it's a crisis.

—Morale
It can be important to know if a manager or committee is happy in their work. If not, where's the problem? (Management can hardly be expected to fix what they're not aware of.)

—Intra-organizational concerns
Often, managers or teams are expected to collaborate with other managers and teams within the organization. If so, is that going well or are there problems? If there are difficulties, what are they?

—Have you learned anything new?
Occasionally, people learn things that are revelatory but not necessarily tied to issues (that is, they don't require a response). While there is nuance about how much of that to include in a report, it can happen that someone outside the team will recognize an opportunity that the manager or team members will fail to see. Because of that possibility, it's often a good idea to report (briefly) on what you're learning in your area. You never know from where inspiration will arise.

—Compelling writing is clear, concise, and to the point
The opposite of this is rambling, wordy, and poorly organized. Sloppy reports are often glazed over and not thoroughly digested. While you may not think that word choice, grammar, and sentence structure should matter that much, they do.

For what it's worth, I find concision to be the very last skill developed in people learning to communicate effectively.

—Confidentiality
Does the report contain information or opinions that might be embarrassing if the wrong people saw it? This is most often the case if you're evaluating personnel, or discussing a delicate negotiation. If so, you need to mark the report clearly as inappropriate to share without express permission… or wear body armor.
• • •At this point in my career as a consultant and nonprofit administrator, I write a report (or its equivalent) every day. If I skip one day, then I compose two the next day. So I've had a lot of practice.

Wary of retirement housing options, some baby boomers make their own way - OregonLive.com

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OregonLive.com

Wary of retirement housing options, some baby boomers make their own way
OregonLive.com
It also embraces elements of co-housing, a development style that emphasizes common areas and community. The townhouses have balconies that look out on a common courtyard, and there's a common room where residents can gather for meals or other ...

Google News

Radical new sociable 'cohousing' project looking to develop in Cirencester - Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard

Cohousing News from Google -


Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard

Radical new sociable 'cohousing' project looking to develop in Cirencester
Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard
A NEW housing project that promises to encourage social contact and develop a sense of community at home, is hoping to develop in Cirencester. Cohousing offers people the opportunity to live in a social environment whilst still maintaining their ...

Cohousing: Radical new sociable housing project looking to develop in ... - Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard

Cohousing News from Google -


Cohousing: Radical new sociable housing project looking to develop in ...
Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard
A NEW housing project that promises to encourage social contact and develop a sense of community at home, is hoping to develop in Cirencester. Cohousing offers people the opportunity to live in a social environment whilst still maintaining their ...

This time, neighborhood fears didn't stop co-housing project - Sacramento Business Journal

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Sacramento Business Journal

This time, neighborhood fears didn't stop co-housing project
Sacramento Business Journal
After three tries, a group trying to establish a co-housing community is ready to begin building one in Fair Oaks. Early next year, members of Fair Oaks EcoHousing hope to begin construction for the project on 3.8 acres near New York Avenue and Fair ...

Stumbling on Stage

Laird's Blog -

I recently facilitated a series of meetings for a cooperative group where I fell flat on my face.

We were working an interesting topic: how much, if any, community money ought to go into supporting an initiative that some expected to benefit from a great deal and others weren't that interested in? It was a big ticket item—an outdoor activity center—that most people felt would result in a significant enhancement of community connections.

While the vast majority favored some level of community support (even those who didn't think they'd be likely to use the facility) mixed with some level of contribution from those who could afford it and those likely to use it, there were a couple of members who did not feel comfortable with any level of community contribution to funding. When asked, the core concern for these two boiled down to affordability: one didn't want to pay extra in homeowners dues to finance this project (they lived on a fixed income), and the other was not convinced this was a high enough priority (and spending a lot of money here meant significantly less available for other projects). They preferred that it be funded wholly by private subscription, a mechanism that had been used successfully for other projects.

As we cast the net for proposals that might bridge the gap, someone came up with the idea of offering community funding coupled with a commitment to allow relief for those who couldn't afford the additional expense.

When I turned to the outliers and asked if that would work for them, the wheels came off the wagon. Instead of feeling held respectfully (by an offer that was meant to address their core concern about whether they would be asked to pony up money in support of a project that didn't float their boat), they both felt on the spot, and my asking them for a response came across with the judgment that they ought to say "yes." My persistence was experienced as badgering. Not good.

So what happened?

o  Going against the grain of community habit
The community was used to backing away when someone expressed a strong objection, rather than leaning into it (as I was doing). Thus, I came across as disrespectful as soon as I asked for a response. Never mind that I believed that was the right thing to do; they were already feeling isolated by the way the conversation was flowing (they knew they were outliers), and I wasn't careful enough about reestablishing connection before making a request.

For example, I might have started with asking them how they were doing, and trying to reassure them that the group wasn't going anywhere if they weren't on board. Instead, I asked them to take responsibility for working constructively with others' desire to support the initiative with community funding, which landed for them as pressure to capitulate. Uh oh.

o  Failing to build a robust creative container
I have the view that it's important to separate the Discussion phase of a consideration (where the group identifies the factors that a good response needs to take into account, during which I encourage the expression of passion and advocacy) from the Proposal Generating phase (where I no longer want to hear advocacy; I'm looking for bridging among interests). Although I'd taken time to try to explain that difference (and even been assured by a member of the group that they do that well), in fact only some of the group embraced a creative, bridging attitude. Others—notably including the two outliers—didn't get there.

o  Framing of the request poorly
I approached the outliers directly: asking them if the combination of community support and an affordability safety net could work for them. While there was nothing false or skewed about that, in retrospect I believe it would have worked better to have focused solely on whether the concept of an affordability safety net addressed their bottom line concerns.

That is, I could have simplified what I was asking about (fewer variables to respond to) and placed the emphasis on the safety net, which was intended as an olive branch, not a Trojan horse. While they may not have found it acceptable, it's unlikely that a good faith attempt to reach out to them would have been so triggering, and I might have been able to get deeper into an examination of resistance (if that's what we encountered).

o  Persisting beyond their comfort level
Once I got off on the wrong foot, and the outliers felt the need to defend their position about not wanting community money going to the outdoor initiative, I compounded the problem by simply repeating the request that didn't land well in the first place (working on the premise that I hadn't been heard accurately). Instead of clarifying, the repetition landed as badgering (you gave me the "wrong answer the first time, so I'll keep asking until I get the "right" answer). Understandably, that just made things worse. (I was reminded of the adage: when you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is to put the shovel down.)

o  Leaking irritation
In addition to everything else, I was frustrated that my exchange landed so badly, and that I achieved no progress on a dynamic that I had been expressly asked to showcase how to deal with differently and productively. This leaked into my energy, making me less safe for the outliers. Oops!

I was trying to demonstrate how to unlink positions (no community funding of the outdoor initiative) from interests (affordability and impact on personal budgets) in an effort to achieve a respectful breakthrough in a logjam, but I didn't get there.

Of course, it never feels good when you stumble on stage, yet, as I tell my students, if you need to succeed every time to feel sustained as a facilitator, quit now. Everyone has off moments, and I had a beauty. Unexpectedly, I got the chance to demonstrate how to pick yourself up off the floor and keep going. While that wasn't what I was hoping to model, it was what was needed in the moment.

Longmont-area events for Saturday, April 11: Boulder County Bombers host ... - Longmont Times-Call

Cohousing News from Google -


Longmont-area events for Saturday, April 11: Boulder County Bombers host ...
Longmont Times-Call
Bohn Farm Cohousing Community Open House —First co-housing community in Longmont. Meet our members, learn about the vision of our community, and tour the land after the presentation, 9:30 a.m. at Izaak Walton Park Clubhouse, 18 S. Sunset St., ...

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