Join the nation’s experts on cohousing, Katie McCamant & Chuck Durrett for a Cohousing Presentation in Tulsa. RSVP here on Eventbrite.
Mission Peak Cohousing in Fremont, CA is sponsoring a Getting-It-Built Workshop with CoHousing Solutions’ Katie McCamant and McCamant & Durrett Architect’s Chuck Durrett. This is an opportunity that doesn’t come around often, a Bay Area GIB. Don’t miss out!
REGISTERING: Mission Peak Cohousing is welcoming anyone to register for the Workshop. Secure your spot – the early-bird discount is fast approaching!
Send your $350, postmarked by March 22, 2016 to receive the discount.
March 22-31: $400 for the two-day workshop.
Make check payable to Mission Peak Cohousing.
Mail with your contact information to:
35366 Ronda Ct.
Fremont, CA 94536
BONUS: Attend a Friday Cohousing Presentation as a Workshop kick-off: VIEW FLYER.
“While most of us appreciate the independence and freedom of contemporary life, where women can have interesting careers, live independently, and generally have a wealth of options our mothers couldn’t even imagine, in that process we have also lost the community of proximity and the support of nearby extended family.
These days many of us have created our own community of choice—self-selected “tribes” to share holidays and special occasions with, rather than always depending on blood family—but we depend on our cars to connect us. When we suddenly find ourselves unable to drive, whether because of illness or aging, we can quickly go from a very busy life to immense isolation. Cohousing provides a way to create a strong community of proximity, right out your front door, while still allowing us to live active and independent lives in the city or region of our choice.”
One of the things I love about living in cohousing is how each community develops its own rituals and traditions. At Nevada City Cohousing, one of our traditions is our October Harvest Festival. We start with a workday in the morning, sprucing up the landscape and the common house (some deep cleaning). Then we take a siesta, followed by an afternoon of arts and crafts on the common house terrace. Over the years, I’ve become the specialist on grapevine wreath making, with wreaths made from the grapevine covering my front porch, decorated as you like with lavender, rosemary, seedpods and other plants from our landscape. Many people now bring last year’s wreath for a yearly update. Then we have a very competitive chili cook-off (vote for your favorite veggie chili, meat chili, cornbread and dessert). The day is topped off with square dancing in the common house and a fire pit on the patio. It’s a great multigenerational mix up with a little something for everyone. In recent years, the original organizers felt they were too busy to take it on, but the community rallied and new people showed up. After you’ve done something like this a few years, it really takes very little organizing if everyone pitches in on bits and pieces. One of this year’s memorable moments was the trio of little girls delivering fresh baked cookies to the workers…who could resist them, or their cookies…
At the end of last month, a local Oklahoma newspaper published an investigative article about a community near and dear to our hearts, Oakcreek Cohousing in Stillwater, OK.
Oakcreek Senior Cohousing is the first (and as of this article’s writing, the only) cohousing in Oklahoma. The group first launched in 2009, with eight local households inspired in the search for a better way to retire in Stillwater – a college town of about 50,000. As a senior community, the group ranges in age from early 60’s to late 80’s. CoHousing Solutions (then Partners) was hired in 2010 as development consultant for the project. The community completed construction of their homes and common house on their site in 2012, with all homes sold by the end of 2013.
Looking back, Darlington said the experience has exceeded her expectations in terms of building the community and bringing out the best in its residents.
“I didn’t know how much living in my own house isolated me,” she said. “It’s just fun and it’s so easy to have a casual visit — just sit down and chitchat for a minute.”
Darlington said she hopes to live the rest of her days at Oakcreek.
“I hope this is the place I die,” she said. “From the beginning I’ve said that I want you to carry me out of here feet first.
“I’ll hire someone down the road for my personal care when things get bad, but until then I know my neighbors will be here for me.”
– The Vanishing Neighbor, Marc Dunkelman
Have you talked with a neighbor today?
Would you recognize them at the store?
Would you know if tomorrow’s their birthday?
CITYLAB (from The Atlantic) released a fascinating article Aug 19th: Why Won’t You Be My Neighbor? based on recent data about neighborhood interactions. Striking facts, indicating a steady downward trend in interactions with one’s neighbors, even at the most basic level of knowing their (not just their dogs’) names. “We live in more sprawling communities, where people are literally living further from one another.” Fenced in & tuned out, some would say.
1/3 of Americans have never interacted with people living next door
<20% of Americans spend time regularly with people living next door
Only 1/3 of the population says, “most people can be trusted” – fallen from a majority in the 1970s
“There was this sort of cohort effect [in the 1920s-1960s] in which people…were more inclined in many cases to find security that existed in neighborhoods,” says Marc Dunkelman, who studied the shift in American communities for his book The Vanishing Neighbor (quoted above). “They depended on one another much more.”
Cohousing may not the be-all-end-all to building stronger neighborhoods, but breaking down perceived barriers to interaction (car-centered dwellings, lack of sidewalks/neighborhood walkability, perceptions of unfriendliness, etc.) goes quite a long ways towards fostered camaraderie; which, by the way, is itself defined as “mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together.”
As any seasoned cohouser would likely tell you, spending quality time together is inherent in the fabric of these neighborhoods from move-in day on. You won’t walk out on your porch one day to find a new tenant moving in next door unannounced. Cohousing builds community bonds on a daily basis; say, from the simple act of arriving home from a trip to walk past the common house (oh right, tonight’s the harvest gathering! better dig up those cut-outs for the kids to carve with) to passing by a neighbor’s open door (looks like Julie’s back home visiting from college, I’ll stop by later to say hi) to finally arriving at your door to find a welcome back home! pumpkin bread and note on your porch.
Although I don’t myself live in cohousing, I’ve heard enough of these stories to know they’re commonplace, and a crucial part of just why these types of communities are not only successful but wholly necessary in our world today.
It’s no exaggeration to say we’re happier, healthier, longer-living people with these daily social interactions in our lives. Not simply feeling like another face behind a door or car-driver backing out of the carport, but a person who’s relied upon, and who can rely upon others nearby when necessary. A parent whose child seeks out spontaneous play dates both with a friend their age two doors down and an eighty-five-year-old adopted grandparent, eager to show off his model train collection. A seventy-year-old single woman who, having recently lost a spouse, finds community in common meals three times a week, where she can break bread with neighbors to honor her late husbands’ memory.
In cohousing communities your neighbor has more than just a name; they have a common meal specialty, a go-to skill, an evolving relationship with their neighbors – they can’t possibly be faceless. Neighbors tackle issues together, plan parties together and honor the passage of friends and neighbors together. Maybe we won’t solve the world’s problems on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood scale, but building bonds there is certainly not a bad place to start. And that’s why now, more than ever, community is truly priceless.
FOR MORE ON THIS TOPIC, CHECK OUT THE LINKS BELOW:
This Fall, we anticipated a great deal of promotion and exciting discussions ahead of us.
It seems like just yesterday we began outreach for the Program: posts here on our website, Cohousing.org / Cohousing-L, Facebook, Twitter, word-of-mouth, old friends in the cohousing world, new connections, and of course – our official launch last month at the National Cohousing Conference.
We can’t wait to begin reading through your applications, and look forward to connecting again, come decision time, near the end of this month.
CoHousing Solutions Media & Outreach
We’re pleased to share our 1st CoHousing Solutions Professional Services Ad on Coho/US!
If you’re a community-in-formation – seeking to increase your membership, target those in-the-know and connect with fellow cohousers…OR you’re an established community looking to rent/sell a unit, we highly recommend Coho/US as an advertising resource.
Their ad packages include a wide range of offerings (with more details here), such as:
And of course their site’s usefulness is extensive without spending a penny too. You can join the Cohousing-L email listserv to see behind-the-scenes cohousing discussions relevant to our communities today, learn more about aging in cohousing or get resources for successful group process/policy work – plus a whole lot more. One stop shopping!
Jenny of CoHousing Solutions, re-posted from cohousing.org
WOW. I’d wager it’s not just me feeling giddy after the Cohousing Conference. It’s even hard to choose a standout moment.
As a pre-Conference volunteer, I had a chance to see some of those gears cranking in the months leading up to May, and really, just got a small taste of the enormous amount of organizing, passion and many, many, many hands involved.
This convergence was the product of so much thoughtful planning (the trick of course is making it look so seamless and easy!) So, THANK YOU to all the incredible Conference sponsors and volunteers, most especially U.S. Cohousing, with Alice at the helm. I know I walked away with a deeper appreciation for the movement and a myriad of both time-tested and new ideas to spark successful communities. It was an honor to witness that in action.
For a reminder of all the organizations/businesses/communities involved, here’s the slideshow I created for the Friday Night Keynote dinner:
Anyone interested in the social media buzz about the Conference: take a look at the photos and discussion on the Twitter page.
And one last plug: If you haven’t filled out the Conference survey yet, help shape the 2017 Conference by doing so here.