Laura Fitch, 2015 National Cohousing Conference Co-Chair
In 2014, my home community, Pioneer Valley Cohousing in Amherst Massachusetts, celebrated our 20th anniversary. A number of big changes here got me wondering - what comes next for my family, my community, and the national cohousing movement? When it came time to think about a theme for our conference, “the next generation” came to me immediately.
The first generation of cohousing has been a success! Research conducted by Coho/US in 2011 confirmed our anecdotal evidence that cohousing is good for children, parents, singles, seniors, the neighborhoods around them, and the environment. We proved the model works, though we stalled (along with the rest of the housing industry) during the recession. Groups are starting up again, but it is time to think about how to advance the movement within a new context. Demographics are changing rapidly with boomers reaching retirement and young adults less inclined or able to enter the home ownership market – all within an ominous backdrop of climate change and uncertainty.
With this entry I'm plowing new ground: for the first time, I'm posting an essay written by a guest author. In this case, Beth Raps, who lives in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia where she operates her business, Raising Clarity: to cultivate abundance in noble causes, people, and organizations.
I first met Beth last October in the context of FIC's search for a new Development Director, which she has been helping us think about more clearly.
As both of us have an abiding interest in sustainable economics, we've been in dialog about right relationship to money, and this essay is the fruit of that conversation. I hope you enjoy it half as much as Beth and I did crafting it.
We at Fair Oaks EcoHousing are a family-friendly, intergenerational group of households intending to build 30 homes on 3.5 acres. Our community’s start of construction is planned for summer of 2015. We’re actively looking for others who share our vision to join us.
We’re excited about our prime site location, minutes from the American River Parkway, Fair Oaks Village, Bannister Park, Sacramento Waldorf School and Rudolf Steiner College. Fair Oaks is 18 miles east of Sacramento.
In response to a "how are you coping out there with snow and cold temps," Diana Carroll at Mosaic Commons in Central Massachusetts, where they've gotton more snow than anytime in recorded history, writes:
Well, logistically it has been quite challenging, of course. Our snow plow company has been working absurdly hard to keep us excavated but we've pretty much run out of places to put the snow...and the cars and everything else.
We've all come across the kinds of stories that are meant to be shared. An article a friend recommends or a radio program we hear on the way to work and can't stop thinking about all day. Well, cohousing has been in the story spotlight lately - and with Conference registration having recently opened, the timing couldn't be more perfect.
Louisville Artists Cohousing in Boulder County Colorado is creating a community that combines cohousing with new urbanism for artists – thus building opportunities for economic sustainability into the community for artists. As artists we struggle with having the resources, community support and inspiration we need to create. Most of the artists in our group do other things – programmer, teacher, receptionist, real estate agent, HR. The cohousing community model provides us the governing framework to share resources, live sustainably, and create more art opportunities for ourselves, and more ways to incorporate arts into our lives.
Here’s a short excerpt from an article by Oakleigh Meadow Cohousing, a cohousing community forming in Eugene, Oregon, that first appeared in Communities magazine #164 (Fall 2014) – Community Conversations.
“The Sneetches and Other Stories,” “Hatchet,” “The Happy Hollisters,” “The Secret Garden,” “The Little House,” “Henry Reed, Inc.,” “A Child’s Garden of Verses,” “Paddle-to-the-Sea,” “Bone Games,” “Black Beauty,” “Nancy Drew mysteries,” and “Native American chief histories.”
Were Oakleigh Meadow Cohousing members and friends at a book club meeting?