A breath of fresh air podcast on cohousing

https://www.dw.com/en/co-housing-a-green-alternative-to-the-family-home/av-60173034

This show dives into many aspects of sharing home spaces.  The host, Neil King, interviews Dr. Sally Augustin, an environmental psychologist,on how our brains work.  She says you need a space that is your territory and you can control. Otherwise your brain can’t relax.  Aha!  That’s how I felt when everyone seemed to turn against me (and/or not speak up or ask how I was doing). It felt unsafe. It wasn’t the home I was looking for.  Yes, you have a private home but I felt like I was hiding in that private dwelling space. Closing the curtains so I wouldn’t see the neighbors outside laughing with others that I knew they were furious with also.  At least with me they just turned their backs and wouldn’t talk to me. I think it may be worse to smile at hypocrites who don’t tell you they are burning inside because of your actions.

It is hard to share, Dr. Augustin states, since everyone might have different goals for that space. One wants to nap and another plays tuba. Just like the common house rooms – a workshop or yoga studio?

Next Neil talks with a cohousing researcher, Dr. Helen Jarvis, professor of social geography engagement, at the University of Newcastle. She says that Scandinavians have high levels of trust in their governments and their neighbors whereas US and Australia, not so much.

Then, he talks with a cohouser.  This is from Europe (he says he broadcasts from Germany).  So, the cohouser is in Europe where I think, they have less of a learning curve on community living than us in the USA (as the research concurs).  

Siv Helene Stangeland, the cohouser and partner in Helen & Hard architects has been living in a cohousing place in Scandinavia since 2011. Her words ring of a true cohouser, “Put all the small frictions on the table,” The reason is so others won’t campaign about it and start talking about it outside of a group. Talk about those small things before they become big .aPut  them on the monthly meeting agenda.  Listen to all the different views and opinions and get a bigger picture. That’s basically what she said and it was music to my ears!

Lastly he converses with a colleague from India., Ashutosh Pandey, senior editor with DW Business. Community is everywhere but changing in India, he says.  Like a homemaker may find themselves taking care of all the neighbors’ children.  He acknowledges that it’ might be hard to unwind after being around people all day at work, especially if you are an introvert.  He may like to try it but not in the purest form.  

I found it to be a balanced conversation that weaved in psychology, business, facts, and imagination. Enjoy!

About CJ

I was a Spanish teacher for 5 years in the Public School system in 3 different states. I homeschooled and taught at a democratic free school. I heard about cohousing in 2010 and wanted to move in right away. I met a group building one in 2018 and got to move in the summer of 2019. It only took a year to want out.
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1 Response to A breath of fresh air podcast on cohousing

  1. Maggie says:

    Yes yes yes!! This resonates so much with me. I too had people turn against me and even bully me in cohousing. It made my house not safe. Especially since the bulky lived across from me. And I wanted to discuss issues and many wanted to drop uncomfortable topics. Sadly I moved and some great people are left there with some really difficult people.

    Thanks for sharing. It all makes so much sense. I don’t think the average US native is ready for cohousing and if too many residents are average it’s a distaster.

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