Happily Ever Aftering in Cohousing: A Handbook for Community Living is a slim book that packs a big message. (The title is almost longer than the total word count of the book!)
Written by Charles (a.k.a Chuck) Durrett with Bernice Gonzalez and Erik Bonnett of McCamant & Durrett Architects, the book compiles best practices for living in cohousing.
This is the second most important book those in cohousing should read. Whether you are just starting your cohousing adventure, a member of a forming, building or built community this is THE book to read. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest with a very understated declaration:
READ THIS BOOK FIRST!
The introduction alone is the single best constructed argument of why do cohousing in the first place posing the singular question: “If it doesn’t work socially, why bother?”
In the book, Chuck and company describe four areas of best practices for insuring a healthy, working, collaborative community:
Today, let’s begin at the very end with …
The Cohousing Tax
The dictionary defines a tax as “a sum of money demanded by a government for its support or for specific facilities or services, levied upon incomes, property, sales, etc.”
Who wants to pay taxes? Who ever thought there was a tax to pay in cohousing?
So what is “The Cohousing Tax?” Here is Chuck's description:
We all have to pay taxes to government, that’s a given. Cohousing is no different. The cohousing tax is what we pay to receive all the gifts we get day after day, big and small. …Every day it seems I receive 20 to 40 warm smiles… However, every month or so I get a frown.
Some days you’re awesome and once in a while you’re ridiculous. Oh well, that’s the community (cohousing) tax.
… the occasional frown is a small price to pay to have someone teach my child how to sing; for common dinners four or five nights a week; for being able to borrow a car occasionally; to taste great homemade beer, great homemade sauces and homemade cookies, and to enjoy the wonderful conversations that become richer and deeper by the year as I get to know my neighbors better and better.
I, too, believe the occasional frown is a small price to pay.
However, in some communities and maybe even most communities, the cohousing tax exceeds an “occasional” frown. Sometimes the cohousing tax is fraught with downright upset, conflict, hurt feelings, frustration and confusion. On balance, this may be a small tax to pay for the rich life found in a cohousing community where living is by far more than something “homemade."
Sometimes the cohousing tax is great and sometime small. It’s the love, labor and time I commit every day to this investment called community.
Let's not forget that sometimes the cohousing tax is too much for some folks and they choose to leave. When too many people leave perhaps it's time to revisit the tax code!
So far, for me, the gifts of community living in Takoma Village in Washington, DC far outweigh the cohousing tax. We run surplus revenue not deficit spending. But not everyone would agree. It's not for everyone. People do move away.
Chuck is fond of saying at every opportunity that living in cohousing is “easy.”
It is not "easy."
But it is, oh, so much richer, far more dimensional, and a more integrated way of living.
Read this book.
Start with the ending.
It will put into perspective the “taxes paid” to live in cohousing.
Mid Atlantic Cohousing's First Ever Thanksgiving
Quantity Cooking Recipe Contest!
Last week, we announced this first ever contest designed to gather those super good delicious recipes from cohousing communities around the world. Scroll down to "Don't Be a Turkey!"
This week, we are announcing an increase in the prize: $50.00 to the winner!
For contest rules, check out the blog post for last week "Don't Be A Turkey!" November 11, 2015.
Deadline: Friday, November 20, 2015, 5:00 p.m. EST.
Send in those yummy recipes! Let's collect them into a book!
What fun contests about "life in cohousing" would you like to see? Send your suggestions to: Ann Zabaldo. Or you can comment on our blog site under this posting. Open to all clean & green, natural, organic, cage & steroid-free contests ...
You Can't Put REAL Dirt in a Rooftop Garden ... No! No! Bad Dog!
World Building of the Year 2015 -- Eric Chang discusses the importance of community courtyards! Watch the video. See the photos of this staggering project. May change your mind about high-density living.
They said it couldn't be done! This Year 1st World Country Germany will get 33% of its energy from renewables!
Ann Zabaldo is a passionate promoter of cohousing. She was on the develoment team for Eastern Village in Silver Spring, MD and Takoma Village in Washington, DC where she lives. She serves on the Board for MAC.
See cool blog for Emerson Commons.