Desiree Kameka Director of Community Education, Madison House Autism Foundation
[Desiree Kameka will be a panelist for the "More than Just Cohousing" session at the 2015 National Cohousing Conference.]
Diversity is often spoken of in terms of ethnicity, religion, and socioeconomic status, but what about neurodiversity?
Neurodiversity encompasses the idea that there is a broad human expression of neurological differences. As we move away from the medicalization of diagnoses, we learn that those with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, along with the five million adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) are different, not less than those who are “neurotypical.” We live in a neurodiverse world!
Most values statements are so vague that pretty much anyone would be willing to endorse them. Values statements mean nothing unless they are connected to a vision, mission, and aims. The same organization can say we value environmentally friendly products and processes and mean entirely different things. I'm sure there is an executive at BP that can tell you they are one of the most environmentally friendly multinational corporation on the planet. And always have been. Committing to Mom and apple pie isn't going to energize and focus your community.
We have an office at Takoma Village in Washington DC. We are one of the larger communities with 43 households and almost 100 residents. Smaller communities may need only a corner of a room but I can’t imagine not having a central place for business records, etc.
Joyce Rasmussen of Wolf Creek Lodge Senior Cohousing
When I attended the Cohousing Conference in Oakland in 2012 I was exploring the cohousing concept, attending workshops on finance and Getting-It-Built, as well as visiting retrofitted cohousing communities. I joined a forming group in Sacramento because I wanted to continue to live where I’d been for 40 years.
Have you ever been asked a cohousing-related question and wished you had a few nicely succinct, number-based facts to support your answer? No, stats aren't everything and measuring cohousing’s success certainly has its deepest roots in the community-feel. But numbers don’t hurt, and they certainly can offer a hand when evaluating and presenting on the success of the cohousing movement in the U.S; as with buyers, neighbors, officials and bankers.
THE IMPORTANCE OF COHOUSING
Cohousing is a fascinating model of intentional community. It originated in Europe, particularly Denmark. It’s success in the US (at least 135 identified communities in the US) is at least in part due to the fact that it looks and operates similar to existing ownership models, particularly condominiums...Cohousing communities are distinguished from conventional models by an increased emphasis on shared facilities and collective management structures. The square footage of units tends to be smaller, and decision-making is often consensus. They also tend to be designed to foster social interaction with parking lots and driveways pushed to the sides and pedestrian walkways connecting units that face towards each other....The similarity to conventional models means that they are the communities most accessible to average, middle-class Americans.
If you’ve signed up for the Cohousing Conference, you may have chosen your intensives or mapped out your top picks for sessions. Well, if I could direct your eyes to the Networking Tab on the Conference webpage, there’s another way to connect with specific groups during your downtime. There are many free gatherings offered, ranging from a discussion on housing affordability with Partnerships for Affordable Cohousing to one on Looking to the Future of the well-utilized Cohousing-L email list.