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Cohousing and Intentional Community: Does Terminology Matter?

[Editor's Note: Sky Blue encourages members from cohousing communities to attend the Twin Oaks Communities Conference. Here Sky discusses terminology: why does it matter? and highlights the relationship of FIC and Coho/US as a success story in inter-organizational cooperation]

Cohousing was one of my first introductions to collective living and the world of Intentional Communities. My father helped found Valley Oaks Village, in Chico, CA, in the mid-90’s. He and I moved into his unit in 1996, when I was 16, and I lived there for a year before I moved out on my own....My path then took me to a student housing cooperative and then to Twin Oaks, and I’m grateful for the perspective each of these communities gave me....Is Cohousing a form of intentional community? The term Intentional Community was in use before Cohousing, and describes a broader range of models than most people realize. But Cohousing describes a particular, innovative model developed fairly recently. By contrast, the term Housing Co-operative has been in use in the US since at least the early 1900’s, pre-dating the term Intentional Community....

Regional Cohousing Conference - Request for Proposals

Interested in partnering with Coho/US to produce a regional conference?
Coho/US is seeking the support of cohousing communities, related organizations, and professionals in producing Regional Cohousing Conferences that encourage and nurture the growth of cohousing, cohousing-like communities, and existing communities.
We encourage creativity and enthusiasm! See the attached for details.
Send initial proposals to conference@cohousing

How Do Cohousers Compare? Findings from the 2012 Survey

Greetings from Cohousing Research Network (CRN)! We are excited to share with you our National Conference presentation of the results from the 2012 National Survey of Cohousing Residents. http://www.cohousing.org/2015/docs/research

.....CRN is sensitive to the fact that cohousing communities are often approached by researchers, so one of our goals is to collaborate, combining our efforts and sharing data, thus reducing the burden on communities while still generating research that can support the growth of cohousing. This survey is a testament to that commitment.

What to Expect

My favorite part of living this way is the reciprocity and natural rhythm of giving and taking that happens all the time

I didn’t expect to hear so much birdsong in the morning. I didn’t expect to be able to see so much sky, sometimes the sunrise and sunset on the same day. I didn’t expect to love my apartment so much, or to feel the disappointments I feel. I didn’t expect that my marriage would break up before I moved into cohousing, and that I would be living alone for the very first time ever. I didn’t expect to feel this comfortable with a large group of people. And I definitely didn’t expect to break my arm a month after I moved in.

Neighborly Support vs Health Care

I include below a list of things that neighbors can and should not do for neighbors with who need support or health care. One of our residents put this together when we another resident needed more than we could provide and the family was not stepping in. In another instance, the community stepped up for what was expected to be a short term of support that extended to several years. Supporting the resident also became supporting family members who come to help. Meals for one or two became meals for four or five. It was unsustainable and created feelings of guilt and inadequacy.

It Turns Out We’re a Neurodiverse Community

When the Cohousing Association of the United States held their annual conference in Durham, North Carolina, last month, most folks in my neighborhood—just four blocks away—weren’t entirely clear what cohousing was.

But after a few insiders visited our Durham neighborhood, we not only learned what it was but also that we’ve been doing it for the last three years. We also learned a new phrase: “neurodiverse community.”

That’s us in North Street Neighborhood: #neurodiverse.

Sustainability: Three Levels Critical to Our Communities

One of the future needs for all cohousing communities is to continue generating support for CoHoUS for developing and training the next generation of cohousing leaders. Just moving in to your new home is not the completion of the community, it is merely the beginning.
We are all mere mortals. Every conference I attend gives me additional insights into what cohousing is all about, how it may be better managed, better designed, and become more sustainable.
One of the convictions I brought away from Durham is that there are three levels of sustainability that are critical to our communities:

Village: The Intentional Community Podcast

At the national cohousing conference, many of you may remember Aaron Darland, who seemed everywhere at once, helping presenters with A/V set up. Aaron was at the conference with his wife Jas and two (adorable) children. As Aaron and Jas consider the next step in their intentional community explorations, they have started a podcast - which is shared below, along with an intro from Jas. This is fun listening!
http://villagepodcast.podomatic.com/

Cohousing Directory Map and Metrics

Coho/US now offers a Cohousing Directory Map - check it out!
http://cohousing.org/map
We are grateful to creator Jenny Godwin.

I encourage folks to let us know when your community status changes. When was the last time you reviewed and updated your profile on the Cohousing Directory?

Feeding this map are the following metrics:

Cohousing Community Metrics 6-15-15

Cohousing Returns to the Radio with Alice & Jerry

Last night (June 11), Going Home with Tony welcomed Alice Alexander of Coho/US and Jerry McIntire, founding member of Stone's Throw Ecovillage in Virqua, WI on air. This was a follow-up to the April 12th discussion with Alice, Katie McCamant (of CoHousing Solutions) and Chris Bentley (journalist who wrote Can Boomers Make Cohousing Mainstream?)

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