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In this presentation, Linda Tate and Jeff Gillio will share a variety of methods for generating fun in the Wild Sage Cohousing Community in Boulder, Colorado. Two activities – the bluegrass brunch and the beer club – provide fun for the community itself, while two other activities – the Yellow Pine Literary Series and the Wild Stage House Concert Series – use fun as a way to reach out to the surrounding community. All activities take place in the community’s common house. Participants will be encouraged to share ways in which their own communities have fun together.
We rarely stop to think about what the places around us tell us, but we rely on what they say to know where we are, where we’re going, how to act, and what to expect from other people. The physical form of a community conveys messages about who lives there, what goes on there, how people relate to each other, and quite a lot more. This session will focus on what cohousing communities – the buildings and landscape – have to say about the people and life there. We will look at a variety of examples to see what messages they are sending and how we can design communities to send the messages we intend.
A panel of youth, adults, and seniors from two cohousing communities will explore the impact that living in intergenerational cohousing has upon day-to-day life experiences, communication, and community. What happens when people in a variety of life stages live together? How does that enrich the lives of the community members? What are the differing needs of families with young children, teens, young adults, adults without children, and elders? What conflicts arise, and how are they handled?
Living in an intentional community in the 1970s, Ronnie Rosenbaum moved into cohousing in 1997. Then the mother of two teenagers and now a grandmother, Ronnie is a mediator for families dealing with life transitions. She is also the executive director of a nonprofit agency providing restorative justice and conflict resolution services.
If “good fences make good neighbors,” then in community building, we should pay close attention to the kinds of boundaries we create. “Fences” can either facilitate or obstruct a strong sense of community. How can we align physical boundaries with social boundaries? In this session, Stefani Danes will look at the concept of boundaries in cohousing, present examples of intentional and unintentional boundaries in the cohousing environment, and identify ways in which physical boundaries successfully support interpersonal relationships and community building. Drawing from a wide range of cohousing developments, she will discuss some guiding principles about designing an environment to support community life.
Many forming communities put lots of attention on the legal, financial, design, and other business aspects of building our physical space. It is just as critical that we emphasize the “development” of the community of people who will be living, working, and playing together BEFORE we do live in the same place. Terri Huggett will discuss ways to: 1) create community bonds early; 2) develop and present your “community face” to possible members; 3) work with the challenges that arise as your community grows; and 4) cultivate and nurture communication skills to face those challenges. To illustrate the many options available to your community, she will use examples and stories from Portland, Oregon's Daybreak Cohousing as well as other communities.
Much has been made about how traditional urban and New Urban neighborhoods support community and families. But these neighborhoods are not great environments for small children and, despite the front porches, lack an armature that supports mutually supportive human relationships. Traditional neighborhoods are a reflection of individualistic American values. To what extent can neighborhoods incorporate features of cohousing and become better environments for children? This session will review the standard approaches, values, and possible shortcomings of traditional neighborhood design. It will then briefly provide an overview of how cohousing has been integrated into urban neighborhoods, discuss “pocket neighborhoods,” and present New Urbanist neighborhoods that incorporate features of cohousing site planning – such as common greens. A full gradation of examples, including cohousing, traditional villages, and traditional neighborhoods, will be presented and discussed.
Many who place a value on effective communication often struggle with the differences and impact of passive, assertive, and aggressive styles. When we choose an inappropriate style for a situation, conflict often results and communication can lead to a less than a win-win result. Those who choose appropriate styles of communication and conflict management find increased respect among their rewards. Barbara A. Bailey will present an interactive seminar that focuses participants on styles of communication and conflict management that can positively affect their communities. A customized component of this seminar will include information on the special issue of female-to-female conflict.
In the past eight years, Waylon Lewis has built something of a media empire of mindful living. Beginning with the magazine Yoga in the Rockies, through a successful print run of elephant magazine, and into an interactive online edition of elephant journal, Waylon has created tangible awareness and social change. His expertise in social media applies to the cohousing movement as we strive for our own tipping point.
Jim Leach will discuss his experiences developing and living in Boulder's Silver Sage Village, one of the first senior cohousing communites in the United States. Diane Margolis will focus on what multigenerational communities need to do to adjust to the fact that, if they are stable, they will gradually become senior cohousing. She will explore the ways different communities respond to the fact that, as the years pass, their residents become older and, in some cases, increasingly in need of assistance.
Representatives from Songaia (Washington), Silver Sage (Colorado), Daybreak (Oregon), and Swan's Market (California) Cohousing communities will share with us what works well and what, if anything, is still challenging about the way in which their common meal systems are structured. More than half the workshop time will be devoted to questions and discussion with session participants. We may analyze and then brainstorm solutions to a particular challenge (i.e., low attendance at many or most common meals), especially if becomes apparent that it is a problem not unique to any one community.