Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How Far We've Come: Tales from Cohousing Conference — Denise Pendleton

What is the ultimate destination for aspiring cohousers, cohousing residents, cohousing professionals, and community experts?

The 2010 National Cohousing Conference in Boulder, CO!

Project Manager Sanna McKim, and Steering Committee members Wendy Watson and I spent last week at this incredible conference. Here we are (left) pictured with Chuck Durrette, an architect who, with his wife Katie (pictured with us below), is credited
with bringing the Danish cohousing model to the U.S. Click here to see Chuck's work.

We spent the week visiting vibrant cohousing communities in the Boulder & Denver area and attending workshops on almost every aspect of creating a cohousing community in hopes that the knowledge we gained would help us towards the completion of our own cohousing community: Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage. At the end of the week, all 3 of us had reached consensus... this conference gave us many more tools and encouragement to tackle the final phase of our project!

At the conference we met many folks who were in various stages of developing their project. I was awed by the high level of commitment, dedication and determination of those in both developing and developed cohousing communities who have spent extraordinarily large amounts of money and time to bring a community to completion. Some communities talked of ten-year celebrations happening this year, while for others the community is only in the first exploratory, "wouldn't it be nice if" stage.

This is when I realized how far we have come. In three years we've accomplished so much... with almost 2/3 of membership, our land purchased, permits and site engineering completed, common house and unit designs completed, as well as the legal condo docs, committees up and running, and
more.

I heard from others in the development phase who have spent three years looking for a piece of land to build their community on, only to lose most of their members in this process as the membership disagrees on which piece of land is ideal.

I also heard the stories of those who are struggling with serious burn out and hadn't established the value or practice of having fun together. I was asked by several to share our list of fun things to do in this upcoming final phase of development as some forming communities hadn't done anything like this.

Leaving this conference, I feel inspired and proud of what we at Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage have already done, and confident that our group has what it takes to see this project through to breaking ground and move-in!



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