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People first, things second.

Hands & Berries

Tiny Houses and shared living arrangements are currently hot topics on the COHO-US Listserv, tapping into the consistently popular themes of affordabiity and simplicity.

Can these now-trendy models that trade-off square footage and private amenities for more affordable, manageable lives deliver on our high expectations?

Since cohousing has already been doing precisely this for over 30 years, incorporating the lessons learned from it makes sense.

Mecklenburg Times: ‘Cohousing’ movement appeals to homeowners seeking fellowship

A recent cohousing attempt in Charlotte has fizzled....Roger Grosswald, a 70-year-old commercial real estate manager, worm farmer and food waste-reduction consultant, formed a Yahoo group two years ago to spark interest here. The SouthPark resident says about 70 members joined. Before running into zoning and financing issues, Grosswald planned to build 33 units on each of two parcels on a 26-acre hardwood-forested plot he owns in the Hickory Grove area off of Robinson Church Road. Members were excited about the project, Grosswald says, which was designed for multigenerational and senior housing in a mixture of triplexes, apartments and single-family homes. “It’s loud and clear that people want this type of community,” he said of successes around the country. “If you build it, you fill it in a moment.”

Big news today!

The fence went up and the building went down! The countdown clock has started. We are VERY excited to have officially broken ground today. We've started a blog page on our website at http://capitolhillurbancohousing.org/blog where you can subscribe to track our progress. There are more photos posted there but below is one to whet your appetite. Speaking of one, we have just one unit available so if you're interested, or know anyone who might be, don't delay in contacting us at info [at] capitolhillurbancohousing [dot] org

Great Aerial Picture of Mosaic Commons and Camelot Cohousing

Aerial of Camelot Cohousing and Mosaic Commons

My son and his dad went up in a small private plane this past weekend, and took this amazing picture of Mosaic Commons and Camelot Cohousing. Our land extends to the North (left in the picture) for another 50+ acres, but this shows all of the built area.

Durham Coho Wins 2014 Golden Leaf Award

Durham Coho is proud to have been selected to receive a 2014 Golden Leaf Award, thanks to a nomination from our architects Ellen Weinstein and Ken Friedlein. http://www.wfarchitecture.com/
This is a big win, given we were in the toughest category of "large development," with 7 submittals from such entities as Duke University and the Durham Bulls Park. I like to think the judges took into account our creativity and community-building. We purchased an infill-lot last used for a tire service shop that required environmental clean up. The half-acre lot is now home to our 4-story intentional community of 37 cohousers. We are arguably part of downtown Durham’s revitalization; we enjoy the abundant opportunities to be part of a re-emerging neighborhood of local food restaurants, a central park and farmers market, and music venues.

Group Works: Power Shift

This entry continues a series in which I'm exploring concepts encapsulated in a set of 91 cards called Group Works, developed by Tree Bressen, Dave Pollard, and Sue Woehrlin. The deck represents "A Pattern Language for Bringing Life to Meetings and Other Gatherings."
....Critical awareness and transparency around existing power differences can, if held well, allow the group to adapt authority structures to best reflect their values or serve their aims. Sharing power isn't always easy, but the rewards for groups who do so can be profound....

Stocking Kitchen Appliances & Stuff

Off my usual topic of governance but this was a response to a question from a new community that I thought might be helpful to all new communities, and some settled ones. What should we buy of the kitchen? A new community will have lots of donations, particularly if they put out the call for things as people anticipate downsizing. People who haven't moved in many years will have lots of extra stuff. Look for "Professional Quality" or "Professional Grade" to find the best products for large group cooking. Find a store that chiefly sells to designers, contractors, building managers, and architects because they will have a full line of products and will be more honest and knowledgable because their business is volume and return customers. Don't expect the tableware to match. Design a place where appliances can be both stored and used.

Fear of Regret as a Stumbling Block to Committing to Cohousing

I received this email from Leah Fisher in response to my opening "Alleviating Fear" article in Cohousing Now! eNews (#71, 10/28/14). Leah makes a compelling case for "fear of regret" as a stumbling block in committing to cohousing, and suggests, "Support for dealing effectively with these concerns could be of great value to prospective members."
Dear Alice,
I was very drawn to your article about Fear related to co-housing, but I would like to suggest a more fundamental fear that I understand as a psychotherapist and that I experience personally with regard to co-housing. It is this: Fear of Regret. [please read more]

Cohousing: Alleviating Fear

I was struck by Marilynne Robinson's assertion in a recent issue of NY Times Magazine (10/5/14): "Fear has, in this moment, a respectability I've never seen in my life." She was referring to what she thinks is a "default posture" of human beings: fear. This recalled for me a presentation at Shadowlake Village that included a slide on safety. I thought: how smart to address, our "default" concern of navigating a dangerous world. Fear may be the motivator for questions among those seeking cohousing: is it safe? can I feel secure? We are all looking to alleviate fears and live in a safe and secure environment. [read more]

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