Cohousing members get great ideas from visiting other communities, and in July, John and Kathi did just that. They had planned a trip to Phoenix and Prescott this summer to visit old friends. At the national cohousing conference in May, they met Jeff Zucker, architect and resident of Manzanita Village. Jeff graciously invited them to explore his Arizona cohousing community, which is perched on the side of a steep hill facing Thumb Butte, Granite Mountain and spectacular sunsets.
The community includes houses and duplexes for sale or rent, and currently 33 out of 36 units are occupied. Tour guide/webmaster Art Gorski described the members, activities and experiences of this 10+ year-old community. At one point, when they had problems reaching consensus, they brought in a consultant who helped members distinguish between making decisions on the basis of individual concerns versus making decisions on the basis of concern for the community.
"One thing we really liked," says John, "was their designation of a 'Keeper of the Heart.' This person monitors the flow and emotions at a meeting. He or she may stop a meeting to 'check on the heart,' when it seems that the desire for efficiency is overrunning people's thoughts and feelings."
What surprised John and Kathi? Fifteen-minute committee meetings!!