New Adventures in Cohousing: Coho/US Board President
Greetings. Jeff Zucker, here. I have the privilege and honor of being the President of the Board of Directors for The Cohousing Association for the next twelve months. While I look forward to an exciting and productive year, I would like to start by thanking the members of the previous Board whose terms are expiring and who have contributed so much to the success of Coho/US. These folks put in a tremendous amount of work during their terms in office, and their active participation on the Board will be missed. They include:
our number cruncher extraordinaire, Dick Kohlhaas;
our queen of cohousing in New England, Laura Fitch;
our esteemed past president, Bill Hartzell;
as well as our soon-to-be past vice president, Patrick Han.
Together, they helped forge a new vitality for Coho/US, and I trust that they will continue to work with us to forward the cause of cohousing.
A little bit about me, before I talk about the events and programs that are planned for the upcoming year. I came to cohousing by way of a visionary architect known as Paolo Soleri. Dr. Soleri coined the term “arcology,” combining the words “architecture” and “ecology” into a single term to express his notion of a better way for humanity to live. I worked on Dr. Soleri’s “urban laboratory” to test his theories, known as the Arcosanti project in Arizona, beginning in 1973. I have remained closely associated with the project ever since, and am currently its supervising architect.
I also have my own private architectural practice. I became an architect because I firmly believe that people can and must create an enduring, positive effect upon the planet. One of the ways of accomplishing this goal for me was to begin a new cohousing community. Thus, in 1994, I called a group of people together and eventually we became the Manzanita Village Cohousing Community of Prescott, Arizona. In my naive imagination, I was taking a “bite sized” piece of Paolo Soleri’s vision, and doing my small part for the world. Little did I know that I would be creating an entire seven course meal! Creating cohousing has been challenging, rewarding, frustrating, magical, instructive and infuriating all at once . . . or over a period of twenty-one years. I think that is was Zev Paiss who once said something to the effect of cohousing being the longest and most involved self-help program that has ever been devised. Too true. For me, it has been a lesson in letting go of control while, at the same time, nurturing the growth of the community.
So, now I am starting on a new adventure as President of the Board. I am blessed with an outstanding slate of Board members. We have an exciting agenda for the coming year, which includes:
• Partnering in the production of an Aging In Community Cohousing Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah in May 2016
• Beginning of an annual (hopefully) tradition of a National Cohousing Open House Day, April 30, 2016
• Promoting a partnership with the National Cooperative Bank to offer traditional lending programs at market rates to qualified cohousing developments
• Creating programs that support creative financing and affordable models for cohousing in collaboration with the Partnership for Affordable Cohousing
• Exploration of the evolving definition of cohousing
• Partnering with the Cohousing Research Network to promote rigorous research that addresses questions important for the growth of cohousing
• Setting the time and place for our 2017 National Cohousing Conference, and bringing a great product to cohousing enthusiasts across the country, and beyond.
Naturally, we, as the members of the Board of Directors for The Cohousing Association, cannot do this alone. Nor do we want to. Your active participation is what makes us a community. I invite you to join with us to continue to fulfill the dream and the promise of cohousing.
Jeffrey Zucker AIA, LEED
Category: Board of Directors