Enriched Living through Intergenerational Downsizing and Sharing (Breakout Session)

Presented by Hans G Ehrbar, Wasatch Commons

Session Description

What kind of planning is necessary so that a cohousing community can mature into a stable intergenerational community, instead of drifting into a NORC state (naturally occurring retirement community)? I will try to answer this question in combination with another type of conscious planning necessary today: how to gracefully transition into lifestyles with much smaller ecological footprints, so that our children and grandchildren can have a future? This second task is especially challenging because it is often unacknowledged, and the cultural, economic, and institutional practices in place in the USA are based on expansion instead of contraction of our already opulent consumption.

I will argue that a cohousing community has just the right mix of intimacy and independence that community members can, as a group, overcome some of the constraints which keep our society on an unsustainable path. Creative solutions are possible which make the cohousing community beautiful and allow cohousers to become lifestyle pioneers emulated by others in and outside of cohousing. And the older generation has an active role to play in this.

This talk is based on the experiences of and discussions in Wasatch Commons, the only cohousing community in Salt Lake City, Utah.

About the Presenter

Hans grew up in Germany and studied mathematics in Munich, Germany. Between 1971 and 1979, he worked at an assembly line in Detroit trying to win workers over for socialism. He studied economics at University of Michigan, and is now a retired Economics Professor at University of Utah. In the last 10 years, Hans has been studying and teaching environmental policy, energy policy, and how to overcome global warming denial. He has also have been active in the environmental movement in Salt Lake City.

Additional Information

This talk will give a better understanding of the local Wasatch Commons cohousing community which conference members are able to visit.