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Sharing Circles and Square Pegs

With due respect to the ancient traditions which anthropologists inform us are the roots of Circle meetings—and which therefore testify to the vitality and resilience of that form—I want to raise questions about how far to take Circles in today's context....While I don't think Circle is the one ring to rule them all, and I don't know if the Circle will be unbroken, I think it fully deserves an honored place in the pantheon of format options for cooperative groups.

Only in Cohousing

If I had an emergency at work and had to go to the hospital, there are 12 homes where my children could stay for 48 hours and be completely comfortable. A single mother by choice with two daughters, ages 3 and 6.

Single Mothers by Choice is an organization that provides information and support to women who are considering adopting or giving birth to children as a single parent. As part of this decision, women are encouraged to consider the financial and social requirements of single parenting.

Need group process help?

Here's a new resource - Webinars by Laird Schaub, one of the three best trainers in group process/facilitation I've had the pleasure to work with. I can't attend due to the day job, but I'm looking forward to reviewing the recordings!

Here's his announcement, reposted with his permission:

Dear Catya,

Do you have burning questions about cooperative group dynamics? If so, I have something that may quench your thirst—all without leaving the comforts of home!

Architectural Review Policies: Plan-Implement-Measure

Architectural review policies are generally hard to write, partly because we have very different housing experiences when we move into cohousing and partly because we have never had the experience of living in a place where people have been so diverse with so many ideas about what is desirable. The process involves understanding how to live in a jointly owned or managed community, the legal ramifications for the association, and shared aesthetic or not shared aesthetics. Policies often need to be educational. Policies are also interrelated—architectural review is affected by the conflict resolution process and the design process. If you begin thinking about architectural review as soon as you begin thinking about design It might avoid some hurdles later.

Regional Cohousing Conference - Boulder, CO Sept 26-28, 2014

2016 Update: There was a fabulous conference in 2014! Please consider attending our 2016 Cohousing Conference in Salt Lake City. Visit www.cohousing.org/2016aging

There will be a Regional Cohousing Conference in Boulder, Colorado, on the weekend of Sept 26-28, 2014. All cohousers, wanna-be cohousers and anyone else interested are invited. There will be topics of interest to both established cohousing communities, and those just starting out. More information visit http://www.cohousing.org/2014boulder

National Conference: The Next Generation and Our Children Of Cohousing

With cohousing communities taking hold in the early 1990’s, we have produced a generation of “children of cohousing.” These now-young adults benefited greatly from growing up in a cohousing community. We are looking for their stories, their experiences; how they have applied “cohousing lessons” in their 20’s and 30’s. Is there anything profoundly different about their networking and other skills, world views or approaches to life than others of their generation who did not grow up in cohousing? Ideally we could benefit from their participation in the 2015 National Cohousing Conference: The Next Generation.

What should a forming group ....get a good plan for NOW?"

Grace Kim responded to a query on cohousing-l to “cohousing veterans:”
“What should we (a forming group) be worried about / work out in advance / get a good plan for NOW?"

I'll preface my advice with the fact that I am an architect, but also a founding member of an urban cohousing group in Seattle that will break ground later this summer. Even though my husband and I are architects and purchased the land more than 4 years ago, it has taken us this long to get to construction (recession was not in our timeline, and the bank attitudes towards lending during the recovery also has hit us hard).

While it's good to do as much research and due diligence for free/little cost, I'm a firm believer that you will need to invest (mentally, emotionally and financially) in the process in order to succeed. (As a business owner, I've often said you have to spend money to make money - same principle here but the making part is the community).

What Should We Be Afraid Of?

On Cohousing-L, a member of a forming group asked a smart question: "What SHOULD we be worried about?"

Philip Dowds, an architect living in Cornerstone Cohousing in Cambridge Cohousing replied:

Plan on delay. Plan on surprising cost increases. Plan on flogging your way past disappointments. Your group may have to deal one or more of …

Why Starting with a Proposal is Usually a Bad Idea

Laird's Blog - Why Starting with a Proposal is Usually a Bad Idea

As a process consultant for cooperative groups one of the most common things I'm asked to address is why it's such a slog to solve problems in plenary. While there are number of things that may be in play, I want to focus here on one particular culprit that's a frequent contributor: expecting that topics come to plenary in the form of a proposal.

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