CO-HOUSING CONCEPTS, PART 2 – INTENTIONALITY

ACTIVE RETIREMENT LIVING – MADELINE HILL & FRIENDS-By Christine.  In my earlier post on cohousing I promised more information on cohousing, a popular concept among Baby Boomers. I’d been looking at that option when I found Mountain Meadows (MM), where I now live. Cohousing encompasses many possibilities for still-active new seniors to explore as  they consider how they want to live the rest of their lives. One key element in cohousing is intentionality. Wikipedia offers a fine, brief definition of this term. Among other things it points out that “the members of an intentional community typically hold a common social, political, religious, or spiritual vision.” And that for an intentional community to succeed it requires a “much higher degree of teamwork than other communities.” There’s the rub. Cohousing communities have found that to be managed by the residents themselves, they probably can’t exceed a certain number of residents (the first, in Denmark, had 50 families) because of the necessity for consensus in all things. And for those families to get along well enough to manage their shared resources, and endure, they need a strong mutual commitment to some principle. That’s very different from most 55+ communities in the US, which are developed as real estate ventures to sell or rent property. Here’s where I find Mountain Meadows interesting, as it falls between the lines somehow. Although MM is certainly intentional in one way — it’s the clear and successful expression of founder Madeline Hill’s intention to create a certain kind of environment for living (see her statement here)– it isn’t intentional in the sense that we all share a closely held belief system or particular goal, and any teamwork is a matter of choice. In fact, we’re quite a lively, individualistic bunch and one thing I like about living here is the great diversity of experience we offer each other. As it happens, though, because MM is in Ashland, Oregon–a quirky, cultural mecca of a town that wouldn’t appeal to just anyone–most us do share at least some interests, concerns, and values. It works for us! In my next post on cohousing, I’ll get into choices in governance and management, which directly affect the experience of community life, and what that means in terms of cohousing choices.

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