This seemed like a good time for a recap of what this group has done over the last year and half. We started in early 2015 as a few people interested in a way to live more cooperatively. We had many questions: what are cooperatives and cohousing? Is this possible to do here in Los Angeles? What have other groups done? How do we learn about types of decision-making and planning processes?
We visited several other communities, which we learned about through the knowledge and initiative of group members. These were LA Eco-village, Regen Co-op in Pomona, and Emerald Village in Vista. I felt very fortunate to hear from members of these communities about their goals and how they operated. We also benefited from hearing group members share their experiences living in community at cohousing and other types of communities previously or in other parts of the country. Through discussions and activities, we listened to each other describe our goals and visions for a community. Through a great collaboration with the Meetup group “You Are Here: Los Angeles: Intentional Community,” we explored fascinating types of design, ways of holding thoughtful discussions, and collaborating with other amazing groups around the area. Also, through wonderful expert speakers and members contributing articles, we started to put together a list of resources available to the group as well as anyone interested in the topic.
Group members discovered we had many shared goals, as well as a lot of enthusiasm for a different way of living. However, several barriers to planning are apparent, including the time that people have available to meet, different expectations for what the group was doing, leadership capacity, and a lack of formal structures such as an organization. I have learned a lot about myself through these experiences; I found that my ideas of what community housing could be were greatly expanded after seeing other examples. I learned that my strengths and interests include reaching out to others, connecting this with different issues, and finding tools to research and document the individual, group, and policy changes that may come.
It is time to take the next steps and shape what the next year will look like. Members, it’s time to weigh in!
Stay tuned for the next post: where we are headed.