by Ingrid Forsberg
Are you ready to make a New Year’s resolution about where you want to live a couple years from now? Or, are you still just wishing for a change in your housing situation sometime before too long?
Merriam-Webster defines a New Year’s resolution as “a promise to do something differently in the new year.” Whereas a New Year’s wish is “a good or kind desire, positive thoughts.”
Members of Cedar Co-housing are now leaving behind their past New Year’s wishes about cohousing to turn these into an ardent New Year’s resolution for 2022.
We are resolved to actively look for a building site. We have engaged a commercial land broker with development experience, and we meet regularly with a co-housing consultant to keep us moving along!
Over the holidays, I enjoyed reading here and here how established cohousing communities spend the holidays together, and am excited for such prospects with our group in the future. I encourage you to read these accounts also to get a better idea of how community works in cohousing.
So, leave your wishes behind and make a New Year’s resolution for 2022 instead! Attend one of our upcoming virtual sessions or in-person events to keep updated with our progress and to find out how to become part of our community.
Join with current explorers and members of Cedar Co-housing as we resolve to make our cohousing community a reality this year!
Then, in the coming years, we’ll be writing about how we at Cedar Cohousing community spend our holidays together – to be read by other aspiring co-housing groups. Together we can make it happen!
Happy New Year, Everyone!
The Holidays in Cohousing
I was talking with some friends about the upcoming holidays recently and felt inspired to imagine how this season might be experienced in cohousing. The main attraction, of course, would be friends in close proximity for impromptu conversation and activities.
I imagine learning about and honoring the spiritual/religious traditions and practices of members of our community. Volunteering in the community for causes we care about. Baking together using recipes from childhood that have special meaning. Sharing favorite seasonal stories and poetry. Watching inspirational movies from around the world. Taking walks in the neighborhood to admire decorated homes. Singing traditional or non-traditional carols together (e.g., Imagine by John Lennon). And talking about our fondest memories of growing up.
Together we can create meaningful holiday experiences in our community of choice. For me, being with others I care about during this season I associate with family, would be the best part of the holidays in cohousing.
by Ellen Thomas
A recent New York Times article, Does Co-Housing Provide a Path to Happiness for Modern Parents?, really resonated with me as a pediatrician and Cedar Cohousing member, Generations of nuclear families in single-family housing, car-oriented neighborhoods, or in apartment complexes that don’t lend themselves to interactions between neighbors, have led us to a place where American parents feel isolated, overworked and under supported. The article argues, and I agree, that the solution may be “living together, separately,” among people who place a high value on community interactions.
Judith Shulevitz looks deeply into the isolating impacts of the American model of single-family, detached housing. She calls it “the lonesome cowboy model of domestic architecture." And, she includes some fascinating discussion of the political and cultural forces that got us here.
Shulevitz points out that the pandemic revealed some of the inherent problems with that model. While some of the interactions she describes weren’t possible during the pandemic, for a lot of lonely parents, they still aren’t really possible. “Parenting was the leading answer to my question about why they’d chosen co-housing,” she writes, “Kids aren’t stuck in their apartments; they can run downstairs. Neighbors’ kids or older members were almost always around to babysit, and for a while, there was a somewhat more formal day care arrangement.
Adults benefit from the ad hoc interaction, too. Instead of planning dinner or drinks weeks in advance, on any Wednesday or Saturday, a sociable soul can find a neighbor to share a snack or a beer with.” The adage, “It takes a village to raise a child,” remains wise and true and Cohousing is a modern effort to find the balance between community support and maintaining reasonable privacy for the individual or family. Shulevitz concludes “If I had to single out one feature of cooperative living I find particularly attractive, it would be regular, spontaneous contact with people of all ages. I had my children later in life, and my parents weren’t healthy enough to spend as much time with their grandchildren as all of us wanted, and then, as happens, they died. I’m nostalgic for an intergenerational experience I never had.” I believe she describes the feeling of many parents, and we at Cedar Cohousing imagine a community that provides just that experience.
Having trouble with the above link? Here's an alternate.
Cedar Cohousing, who organized this event held on February 27th, was one of four presenters. The idea of our Parade of Cohousing was to showcase three urban cohousing communities that Cedar hopes to emulate, much as local realtors love to show off new residential properties in the Spring and Fall. We were delighted to have represented Richmond Cohousing in Richmond VA, Takoma Village Cohousing in Washington, DC, as well as PDX Commons in Portland OR. The first two are multigenerational and located close to the urban core. PDX is also in the heart of Portland but is for 55+. The purpose was to provide attendees with a discussion of the benefits of living in cohousing directly from people who are doing it. Happily, we were able to record the event in Zoom and it is available for your viewing pleasure right here.
Below is a photo of members of the Takoma Village cohousing community.
from KREM in Spokane update on Haystack Heights - As of January 1, 2021 The cohousing project has one unit still available. Article/video by Nicole Hernandez