I live in Trillium Hollow Cohousing Neighborhood, and just recently completed serving as project manager for a major construction defect remediation. Preparing for my “Managing the BIG PROJECT” presentation at the National CoHo conference, I talked with several other communities who have faced construction issues to gather lessons learned and cautionary tales.
Joe Cole joined us this evening for a thought-provoking presentation on Addressing Racism and Working for Racial Equality in Community Building.
Joe started with a long view of history, noting that the competitive culture of domination is recent, only 5000 years. Prior to that human cultures were collaborative, demonstrating that a cultural values of sustainability, equity, justice and diversity are possible for humanity.
Sarah Ross and Mary King of We Can Work It Out joined us for our twentieth webchat sharing tips and strategies of new member orientation in forming and established communities.
They explained that new member orientation has 4 primary objectives:
• To welcome new members
• To protect, preserve and pass on community culture
• To teach both informal and formal practices
• Give new members accurate expectations
Coho US has gone international with this interesting WebChat about cohousing in Berlin, Germany.
Michael LaFond, and architect raising in the US who lives and works in Germany, shared his experience of both living and working in cohousing in Berlin. Like all cohousing, these communities are self organized, community led, and sustainable. Unlike the most common cohousing communities in the US, they exist as part of larger housing units, occupying a couple of floors in a larger building, and they include homes that may not have a private kitchen.
With forming communities wanting to be as diverse as possible, the topic of Housing Segregation and its Impact on Cohousing couldn't be more important. Crystal's recent WebChat describes the history of segregated housing in America, the ways in which federal policy created and maintained segregation, and the ongoing impact of those policies and ongoing racist practices still today.
One of the joys of working for the Cohousing Association is supporting the movement that is cohousing. We believe that cohousing is about more than what is achieved by any one community and more than the sum of those individual achievements. The collective potential of cohousing is literally to change the world. As cohousing grows, climate change is reduced. As cohousing expands, democracy regains the ability to bring our nation together. As cohousing thrives world leadership becomes inspiring, collaborative and connectional.
Strong facilitation makes for effective and efficient meetings. One ticky part is the balance between the need for strong leadership and the need to be an equal member of the community. This is where contracting comes into play. A facilitator needs a clear agreement with the community about their roles in the meeting and what will happen at the meeting. Good contracting helps balance power and keep participants engaged.
In this WebChat, Karen describes contracting and give examples of implementation.
Last week's webchat with architect Grace Kim was full of useful information. Whether you are already using your common house or are in the design phase, taking time to think about acoustics and learning how to make them work well will add enjoyment and possibly participation to your common meals and other events.
Grace offers great tips on strategies and materials that keep sound at comfortable levels and she tells us what doesn't work and why.