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Motivation for the cohousing community : a study of two groups Jeske, Marilyn Ruth 1992

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MOTIVATION FOR THE COHOUSING COMMUNITY:A STUDY OF TWO GROUPSbyMARILYN RUTH JESKEB.A., Warner Pacific College, 1975A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF SOCIAL WORKinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(School of Social Work)We accept this thesis as conformingto the require—.ptandardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAAugust 1992. Marilyn Ruth Jeske, 1992/In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.Department of_________________________The University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate_____ /99.DE-6 (2/88)iiABSTRACTCohousing is a Danish model of collaborative housingthat seeks to achieve a balance between privacy andcommunity. It is characterized by an intentionalneighborhood design, extensive common facilities, aparticipatory development process, and complete residentmanagement. This exploratory study examined the motivationof members from two pioneer groups, one American and oneCanadian, each involved in developing cohousing communities.Ten in—depth interviews were conducted with group members tostudy their motives for involvement in the cohousingprojects. Respondents indicated that they wanted a greaterexperience of community which was supportive and a safe andenriched environment for their children. In their desirefor challenge, they experienced personal growth andfulfillment through the process of making decisions byconsensus. The respondents had affiliation motives thatwere consistent with motivational theory.Findings also suggest that the model has a strongpotential for developing supportive networks for familiesand individuals. This study is relevant for communitypractice of social work because it provides a housingalternative that focuses on community. It serves as astarting point for discussion about the cohousing model.iiiAbstractTable of ContentsAcknowledgementsIntroductionChapter 1 Literature ReviewHousing DesignCohous ingMotivational TheoriesRelevance to Social WorkChapter 2 MethodologyResearch DesignSampleMeasureInterview ProcessAnalysisChapter 3 Results and DiscussionMajor ThemesChapter 4 Implications for Practice and SummaryImplications for Community PracticeLimitations of the Cohousing ModelLimitations of the StudyFuture Research PossibilitiesSummaryBibliographyAppendix 1Appendix 2Appendix 3Appendix 4TABLE OF CONTENTSiiiiiiv1.335172025252631323638385555596768697379838485Interview GuideDemographic Information FormConsent Form for SubjectsApproval from the Ethics Review CommitteeivACKNOWLEDGMENTSI wish to thank my advisors, Mr. Roopchand Seebaran andDr. Mary Russell, who played a major role in the developmentand completion of this thesis. Their inspiration andguidance throughout the process was invaluable.My appreciation is extended to the members of theWinslow Cohousing Group and the Windsong CohousingAssociation for opening their homes and sharing theirvisions with me.Writing a thesis has been a challenging experience. Myfamily and friends have been enormously supportive of mywork. Their constant interest has sustained and motivatedme to persevere to the conclusion of this project. I wishto thank Alma Bartel Coffin, Joyce Hanley, Jacqueline Alexand John Rohac for editing this paper and providingencouragement. I am profoundly grateful for the lovingsupport of my parents, Rudolph and Florence Jeske. Finally,my special thanks go to my son Lee for joining me on thisjourney and sharing my dream.Marilyn Jeske1INTRO IONThe author’s social work education, training andexperience has been focussed in the field of childprotection. Through this experience, it became clear thatisolation and loneliness are pervasive in maltreatingfamilies. A keen interest in the prevention of child abuseand neglect led to an exploration of the role of thecommunity in supporting families. This study took anecological perspective towards families. It is a view offamilies that looks beyond individual characteristics,personality, and family dynamics. It is directed atimproving transactions between people and environments inorder to enhance adaptive capacities and improveenvironments for the participants (Germain, 1979).Two general research questions for study emerged. Howcan families be strengthened and supported? In whichsettings do social support networks emerge? The search foranswers to these two questions led to the discovery of thecohousing community as described by McCamant and Durrett(1988) in Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to HousingOurselves. The book is an account of how the Danish peoplehad designed a housing model that met their needs forcoiiuuunity and provided opportunities for social support aswell as individual privacy.The cohousing community was examined because it wascreated through the grassroots efforts of families and2individuals. It is a community development strategy todeveloping social support networks. The study focussed onidentifying the motives of cohousing group members whobecame involved in pioneering a housing model that was newto North America. The study served as a starting point fordiscussion about the cohousing community as a model for asupportive environment.3Chapter 1LITERATURE REVIEWHousing DesignThe industrial revolution has caused a massivepopulation influx to the cities. With greater urbanization,attendant social problems and demographic changes haveplaced increasing stress on the family unit. It isinformative to review the literature on housing design toexamine how the needs of women, children and families areaddressed in urban housing.Despite the traditional role of women as homemakers,little attention has been paid to meeting their needs in thedesign of homes and neighborhoods. In her exploration ofalternatives to conventional housing, Franck (1989) statedthat urban forms ultimately rested on the visions, values,choices and interests of powerful groups. The most powerfulpeople in North American cities are middle-aged white menwhose needs and preferences have set housing standards; andyet our cities house people at different stages of the lifecycle (Short, 1989). Suburban designs are discriminatory asmen benefit by access to urban amenities and avoid domesticchores while limiting the choices of women (Mazey & Lee,1983)4Housing has been viewed as a commodity provided by theprivate market and the residence as private and isolatedfrom the community which surrounded it (Wekerle, 1988). Theactive involvement of women in the design, development andmanagement of cooperative housing communities has providedan alternative paradigm to the market experience of womenwithin current housing trends. In the wake of the demise ofthe helping aspect to neighborhoods, (Porteous, 1977), womenhave designed housing developments that meet their needs andthose of their children. The creation of a supportivecommunity was a key goal in the development of two women’shousing cooperatives in Toronto described by Wekerle andNovac (1989)Cooper Marcus and Sarkissian (1986) reviewed thecurrent literature and addressed the impact of the physicalenvironment on human behaviour. Subsequently, theydeveloped 254 design guidelines contained in their book:Housing As If People Mattered. Children’s need for a safeenvironment in which to live and learn is a major topic inthe book.Franck (1989) described collective housing against thebackdrop of the prevailing image of the American householdas the nuclear family with the father as the breadwinner andthe mother as the stay—at—home homemaker who cares for thetwo children. The single-family detached home representedthe cultural values of stability, security, status,independence and privacy. The integrity and individuality of5the secluded family unit was maintained. However, thetraditional form of housing has been found to be inadequatedue to the changing facets of family life. In response tothe need for an alternative, collective housing featuredspaces and facilities for joint use by households ofdifferent ages and lifestyles. Supporting shared activitieswas a central characteristic of this type of housing and notan added amenity.Cohous ingThe concept of cohousing was brought to publicattention in North America by two American architects,Katherine McCamant and Charles Durrett, who had studied thephenomenon in Denmark and wrote the first English book oncohousing. From the Danish bofaellesskaber directlytranslated as living communities, they coined the term“cohousing” which is a trademark of McCamant & Durrett(1988). It has four common characteristics: theintentional neighborhood design, extensive commonfacilities, the participatory development process, andcomplete resident management. Each of the characteristicsmay have been present in similar kinds of housing; however,their unique combination in cohousing has distinguished itas a specific kind of housing model.Porcino (1991) has studied cohousing and has providedthis definition:6Cohousing, a form of “living communities” based on thevery successful villages found in many Scandinaviancountries. A group of people purchase land together,build their own separate homes and a large communityhouse. Residents of all ages come together in thedesire for a more practical and social homeenvironment. Based on democratic principles, thecommunity has no professional management; instead, eachresident serves on an interest—group committee. (p. 1)The cohousing model achieves a balance betweencommunity and privacy. Residents maintain their owndwellings while a communal approach to everyday life istaken. Social contact between residents is facilitated byclustered housing and connecting pathways. The kitchenwindows and front doors of the units open onto a centralcourtyard with space for children’s play and sitting areasthat encourages informal gatherings. Private backyardsprovide for solitude and intimacy.The wide array of common facilities are centrallylocated to encourage interaction. A striking feature is thecommon house. It contains a kitchen and dining hail in whichthe group shares the evening meal as an integral part of thedaily routine. The common house may also include achildren’s playroom, workshops, recreational areas, guestrooms, and laundry facilities. Each family and individualdecides when to participate and at what level. “The commonfacilities, and particularly common dinners, are animportant aspect of community life both for social andpractical reasons” (McCamant & Durrett, 1988, p. 10).7Porcino (1991) has included cohousing in her study ofcommunity housing for middle aged persons. She providesthis description:Cohousing is a grass—roots movement growing out ofpeople’s dissatisfaction with existing housing choices.It begins with people whose major bond is the need foraffordable housing and a supportive community. But itis primarily the architecture--the unique design ofindividual homes and shared dwellings——that encouragesand even demands a sense of community. The communitiesare small——between twenty—five and forty clusteredhomes. Individual houses are designed to be completelyself-sufficient. Opportunities for both socialinteraction and privacy are built in. (p. 64)Fromm (1991) includes cohousing as one of severalexamples of collaborative housing that has developedindependently in a number of European countries. InHolland, it is called central wonen, a term retained inEnglish. In Sweden, it is known as kollektivhus which isloosely translated as collective housing. The type ofbuilding has varied in each country as well as how it wasdeveloped and owned. However, since these types of housingdevelopments are similar in fundamental ways, they aredefined as collaborative housing. The seven elements ofcollaborative housing are: common facilities, privatedwellings, resident—structured routines, residentmanagement, design for social contact, residentparticipation in the development process, and pragmaticsocial objectives (Fromm, 1991, p. 17). Cohousing has anumber of features that distinguish it from cooperatives asan example of collaborative housing. “Social and supportive8services, such as child and elder care, may be included. Anintergenerational mix of residents govern and maintain thehousing, with an emphasis on community” (Fromm, 1991,p.269)Fromm (1991) has provided a summary statement which ishelpful in defining this form of housing:The essence of collaborative housing is that communityis created by meeting everyday needs in a communal way.The most straightforward and utilitarian chores——cooking, watching children, sweeping the walkway--provide the opportunity to meet neighbors, talk, anddevelop relationships. (p. 10)Despite many similarities with intentional communities,communes, or cooperatives, the cohousing communities have anumber of fundamental differences. Separate and oftenisolated communities have been formed by groups attemptingto escape from mainstream society. They have been based oncommon religious, political, or personal beliefs. Incontrast, cohousing residents claim no particular ideology.Holding only to broad social objectives to improveindividual and family life, they remain, integrated intosociety. There is a deliberate and planned focus onencouraging social interaction and a sense of community.Another significant departure from other communitiesinvolves making decisions by consensus which forms thefoundation for the participatory process in the cohousingmodel. Defined by Johnson and Johnson (1987), consensus is:a collective opinion arrived at by a group ofindividuals working together under conditions thatpermit communications to be sufficiently open——and the9group climate to be sufficiently supportive [italicsadded] --for everyone in the group to feel that he orshe has had a fair chance to influence the decision.(p. 102)Consensus is total agreement. However, each individualmust express one’s opinion and view. The only way that thefinal decision is of higher quality than a democratic voteis due to the fact that everyone has an equal voice and avaluable viewpoint to share. This synergistic processproduces an outcome that is of greater value and benefit tothe group than anything that could be created throughindividual effort alone.Porcino (1991) identified several characteristics ofsuccessful communities.Residents’ obvious thoughtfulness toward one another.(p.5)A safe environment in which people can speak and beheard; in which their ideas are valued, appreciated,and accepted; where individual differences areaccepted. (p.5)A group of people who can resolve conflicts withoutdestructive physical or emotional trauma. This mayinvolve decision making by consensus or any othermethod that works for a particular community. (p.5)An environment conducive to personal fulfillment andgrowth. (p.5)Excitement and a sense of adventure. (p. 6)These characterristics are also used to define a cohousingcommunity.10The European ExperienceA number of events converged to create cohousing. Itbegan in 1964 with the vision of Jan Gudmand-Hoyer, a Danisharchitect. He and his wife, a psychologist, weredissatisfied with their urban housing. They wanted a homein which they could raise a family. The available optionsof the single-family suburban house, apartment building, orrow housing were isolating and lacked common facilities thatwould provide a sense of community.The couple joined a circle of friends to discuss thepossibility of a more supportive living environment. Theywere inspired by the book Utopia by Thomas More (1516). Itdescribed “a city of cooperatives, each consisting of 30families who share common facilities and meals, and whoorganize child care and other practical functions” (McCamantand Durrett, 1988, p. 134).A number of Danish projects provided additionalinspiration. The Doctors’ Association Housing, a rowhousing complex built in Copenhagen in 1853, encouragedactive community life. As well, in the late iBOOs and1900s, the Workers’ Building Association developed betterhousing through workers’ initiative.The Gudxnand-Hoyer group put its ideas into action bydesigning a housing community of 12 houses set around acommon house and swimming pool. The group purchased a siteoutside Copenhagen in the quiet town of Hareskov. Despite11support of the proposal by local officials, the group metwith intense opposition by the neighbors. They weresuspicious of the collective nature of the community.However, they camouflaged their resistance by voicing aconcern about how the noise level would increase becausemore children would be living in their quiet neighborhood.The construction of the project was effectively blocked. Asa result, most of the families were discouraged andabandoned the project.Reflecting upon this experience and the ideas of thegroup that prompted the Hareskov project, Gudmand-Hoyerwrote an article called “The Missing Link Between Utopia andthe Dated One Family House.” In 1968, the article waspublished in a national newspaper (Information, June 26,1968). It produced tremendous interest. Over one hundredpeople responded positively about residing in a place asdescribed by Gudmand-Hoyer.At the same time, the youth movement in Europe andNorth America challenged the status quo. There was adrastic shift in values. Although many people did notparticipate in the student uprisings at many American andEuropean universities, they were influenced by the changingattitudes and “a belief that a more cooperative livingenvironment would help build a more humane world” (McCamantand Durrett, 1988, p. 135). Collective and communal housingarrangements emerged across North America and Europe. Thesenew ways of living together were based on radical social,12political, and Eastern religious ideals that included newfamily structures as well.The cohousing concept received further stimulus throughanother significant piece of writing by author, Bodil Graae.In her article “Children Should Have One Hundred Parents”(Politiken, April 1967), Graae described an environmentwhere children belonged and where providing for their needswas a greater priority than providing for cars and parking.More than fifty people responded to the article. A groupformed to discuss how to build such a community wherechildren would be cared for by all of the adults.The articles by Gudmand-Hoyer and Graae provided theinspiration for many Danish cohousers. A new core group wasformed by these two writers (Graae and Gudmand—Hoyer) andthe few families who remained from the Hareskov group. Theyjoined together to build a cohousing community. The groupsplit into two but continued to cooperate together. Theyeventually built two cohousing communities in the smallvillage of Jonstrup outside of Copenhagen. In 1972, 27families moved into Saettedammen, followed in 1973 by 33families who moved into the Skraplanet community designed byGudmand-Hoyer. In 1976, a third cohousing community, NonboHede, was built on the Jutland peninsula in Denmark. Theirefforts were initiated without knowledge of the first twoprojects. Subsequently, they consulted with these groupsand gained encouragement from seeing their work.13Meanwhile, the Danish Building Research was examiningthe social implications of the physical environment andsponsored a national design competition in 1971. Theproposal that won first place was designed by a newarchitectural firm called Vandkusten. The proposal calledfor “a cooperative society and humane communities thatintegrate work, housing and recreation” (McCamant & Durrett,1988, p. 139). Five years later, the firm built Tinggarden,the first rental cohousing development. It was subsidizedby the government and built by a nonprofit housingdeveloper.In 1981, new legislation in Denmark, The CooperativeHousing Association Law, made it easier and less expensiveto finance cohousing. As well, groups were encouraged toincorporate a greater diversity in the composition of thehouseholds. With the new financing possibilities, theearlier groups with the residential composition of two-income families shifted to include single persons and singleparent families.The history of cohousing is relatively brief, coveringonly the last twenty years. However, it has been gaining inpopularity, largely due to its community focus.Cohousing groups have been successful in Scandinaviancountries for two decades, with more than 100communities established in Denmark. At present, forty—eight separate projects that will house sixteenthousand Danish families are under construction. Manyof these are government sponsored and are consideredsuccessful alternatives to high—rise public housing.(Porcino, 1991, p. 63)14It appears that cohousing is a viable option for manyEuropeans.The North American ExperienceThe cohousing model was relatively unknown in NorthAmerica before the landmark book written by McCamant andDurrett entitled Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach toHousing Ourselves (1988). During the year spent in Denmark,the architectural team visited several cohousing communitiesand lived in one community for an extended period of time.They studied cohousing as a type of alternate housing thataddressed the social needs of families and individuals.They founded the consulting firm called The CoHousingCompany in Berkeley, California to assist cohousing groupsto translate the Danish model into American reality.United StatesA review of articles on cohousing in state newspapersand national magazines has shown a growing interest in thecohousing concept. Newspapers in American cities from coastto coast highlighted the work of McCamant and Durrett. Theyhave been involved in a number of cohousing projects inCalifornia, including a nonprofit social housingdevelopment.15The Sonoma Index-Tribune (October 9, 1990) reportedthat there were currently 70 groups across the United Stateswho were developing cohousing communities, including one inSonoma Valley, California. Rocky Mountain News (October 8,1990) described a group who were planning to build acohousing community near Lafayette, Colorado.The New York Times (September 27, 1990) highlighted theWinslow CoHousing Group in Washington. Members of thiscommunity are subjects of this research project.CanadaThe concept of cohousing has received attention inCanada. An article in The Vancouver Sun (October 5, 1990)also described the Winslow community. As well, thenewsmagazine show Market Place that aired March 18th, 1992on CBC Television featured a segment of the program oncohousing.Interest has been created on the West coast and atleast two Vancouver based groups have formed with the goalof building cohousing communities. Members of the WindSongCoHousing Association in Vancouver participated in thisresearch project.16Motivation of Cohousing Group MembersThe literature that is written on motivation forcohousing is limited. The contributions of Fromm (1991) andPorcino (1991) have provided some understanding of themotivation of group members who have developed cohousingcommunities.The motivation behind the first cohousing developmentswas to create a strong social network for the nuclearfamily: “few had thought in advance about the practicaladvantage” of cohousing (Anderson). (Fromm, 1991,p. 15)Residents were motivated toward cohousing because of aneed for a supportive community that was not met incurrently available housing options.The primary reason some people choose to live incommunity is to avoid living alone, which is difficultand unappealing to people of all generations. As theydiscover new ways to escape the loneliness of everydaylife, people are also finding the emotional and social—support networks they’ve found so difficult toestablish in the outside world. (Porcino, 1991,p. xxvi)Cohousing residents are a diverse group with a numberof common needs that have been met in the cohousingcommunity.Cohousing is a viable option for people who dream ofhaving the privacy of their own home or apartment, aswell as the advantages of living in a community. Theyare people with a wide variety of talents and careergoals. They are young and old, married and single.They are willing to work with others, and they believethere is something to be gained from a community wherepeople look out for one another. (Porcino, 1991, p.64)It seems that a wide variety of people are attracted to17cohousing who are seeking to meet their social needs.Motivational TheoriesA review of motivational theories provides a conceptualframework for analysis of the data. A motive is a generalcategory of terms that includes needs, drives, andincentives. A further distinction can be made among theseterms (Simons, Irwin, & Drinnin, 1987). Generally, needsrelate to unmet biological and psychological needs. Drivesrefer to internal sources of motivation that push anindividual towards a goal in an attempt. to reduce tension.Drives are generally associated with psychological drivesarising from biological needs. Incentives pull an organismtoward a goal. An individual’s expectation or reward isinternal, but the source of that expectation lies in theexternal reward.As outlined by Simons, Irwin and Drinnin (1987),Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a five level model. Lowerlevel needs must be satisfied before the individual ismotivated to meet higher level needs. An individual ismotivated by D-needs or deficiency needs to meet biologicaland psychological needs. In contrast, an individual whostrives for self—actualization is motivated by B—needs orbeing needs. Maslow saw needs for self—actualization asmetamotives or literally “beyond1’ motives. An individualstrives to grow beyond the current condition and reach for18self-fulfillment of one’s potential. “People like to pursueB-needs and if the environment is sufficiently supportive[italics added] they will continue to express themselves innew and positive ways” ( Simons, Irwin & Drinnin,1987, p.363)ERG theory of Alderfer (1989) is a framework ofexistence, relatedness and growth needs. It is consistentwith Maslow’s hierarchical construction and finds similaritywith his first and last levels but departs in the mid-rangeof needs. There are a number of additional differences inthe ERG model. First of all, Alderfer states that the lowerlevel of needs do not have to be satisfied before anindividual is motivated to the higher levels of needsmidpoint range of needs. As well, positive, negative andmixed emotions are included while Maslow indicated that thebasic need is for positive emotions.The humanistic theory proposed by Carl Rogers issimilar to Maslow’s level of self—actualizing. “Humannature is good and all people possess an actualizingtendency to grow in positive ways once circumstances aresupportive [italics added].” Rogers emphasizes that peopleare the best judges of what they should do with their livesand all have the capacity for self—improvement (Simons,Irwin & Drinnin, 1987, p. 363).The existential theory of Rollo May’s authenticity isequivalent to Maslow’s self—actualization or Roger’s fullyfunctioning person. Being authentic means taking personal19responsibility for what happens in one’s life, includingboth the good and bad. This theory advocated forconstructive ways to act passionately which would result ina renewed self and an improved society. Existential theoriesemphasize commitment to behavior because ideas are uselessunless they are acted upon. Taking responsibility for one’sown actions becomes an expression of passion and joy.Studies on motivation have focussed on a number ofdifferent populations and a variety of circumstances. WhileMann (1989) included motivational factors in his study ofhow adolescents make decisions, Veroff and Veroff (1980)studied social goals in adult development. Their generalframework for a theory of motivation was based on theconcepts of incentives, expectancies and behavioraltendencies. Exploratory goals were included as part ofadult motivation. Taking a developmental perspective, theyidentified a number of universal social incentives:curiosity, attachment, assertiveness, social relatedness,belongingness, consistency, interdependence and integrity(p. 29)Veroff, Reuman and Feld (1984) identified four socialmotives of achievement, affiliation, fear of weakness, andhope of power. They discovered that age differencesinfluenced the stability and change of the motives.“Women’s achievement and affiliation motives decline inolder ages; men’s hope of power is distinctly higher at midlife” (p. 1142)20Membership in social movements results frominstitutional deficits. There is a meaningful relationshipbetween the type of problems that face a person and the kindof movements that attract him as demonstrated by Toch(1965)The paucity of literature on why people join groupsdoes not provide a solid background for this study.However, the information that is available does provide someperspectives that are pertinent.Relevance to Social WorkThe primary focus of this study was to explore whyindividuals and families were motivated towards cohousing.Because the phenomenon was new to North America, anexploratory study was conducted. This study was designednot to test hypotheses but to explore some general researchquestions: What prompted people to consider cohousing?What were the motivational factors involved in theirdecision to participate in the development process? Whatwere the benefits of making decisions by consensus?The goal of this study was to increase theunderstanding of what cohousing group members value and areseeking within the cohousing model. For Europeans, it hasprovided a sense of community and support. It is child—centered. The impact on the family unit promises to be21positive. It is possible that it offers the same benefitsto North Americans.It is important to examine the motives of cohousinggroup members to determine if the needs expressed areuniversal rather than idiosyncratic. Perhapsgeneralizations can be made about the merit of the cohousingmodel to meet universal human needs. There may becompelling reasons to initiate cohousing projects as aviable housing alternative. There may be indications thatthe cohousing model is a supportive environment that willprovide for the needs of families and individuals. Thestudy of motivation towards cohousing may predict a trendtowards a return to village-like neighborhoods as a solutionto the anomie and loneliness of dense urban life and itsattendant problems.Studying grass—roots movements is of particularimportance to community practice of social work. Thecurrent reality of rapidly shrinking budgets for socialprograms has reduced institutional answers to socialproblems. As well, the capacity of formal agencies torespond has diminished. Responsibility is shifting back tocommunities, families and individuals to find their ownsolutions to their problems.But families are in jeopardy. At a recent conferencein Vancouver, B.C., Dr. Berry Brazelton, a well—knownpediatrician and author from the Harvard School of Medicine,explained that society believes that the family should be22self—sufficient or suffer. However, the demise of theextended family has contributed to the stress of middle-class families. Brazelton believes that society must takeon the role of an extended family (Kines, 1992).In his keynote address to provincial conferencedelegates who had gathered to identify family issues andconcerns, Garbarino (1990) stated that “family is notsufficient.” Because families are not perfect but arefraught with problems, he believes that they have not beenable to meet all the needs of their members, particularlythe needs of children. To expect families to meet all theseneeds is unreasonable and unrealistic. The family needs tobe supported in their responsibilities to care and nurtureits members.The work done by Garbarino (1982) in regards tostudying children and families in the social environment isrelevant to this study. He stated:The principal task for the community is to know howsocially well-fixed their families are and to proceedaccordingly. The community needs to recognize positiveforces where they exist naturally (and then leave themalone) and to learn how to generate and sustain themwhere they do not exist already. Community developmentis inseparable from reducing sociocultural risk in thissense. A prochild ideology is the foundation for acaring community. (p. 57)Garbarino’s 1980 study of low-risk and high-riskneighborhoods asserted that there are neighborhood effectsrelated to child maltreatment. He identified thecontribution of a secure, nurturing and supportive settingin providing a positive context for child and family23development. Garbarino (1982) has defined neighboring as“socially defined relationships that involves the duties ofexchanging resources, information, and help. Neighbors forman informal support system that a family can look to intimes of need” (p. 163).The definition by Garbarino (1982) of social supportsystems is relevant to this study. “Social support systemsare networks of individuals that nurture and care for peopleand serve as resources in time of physical and emotionalneed” (p. 151). The supportive environment is beneficial inthe provision of nurturance, feedback, warmth, security,guidance and direction for individuals; and to creating afamily network of support systems which are “the staff oflife in child rearing” (Garbarino, 1982, p. 240). “As themother and father are parents to the child, so the communityis parent to the family” (Garbarino, 1988, p. 11). Heexplained:Families, as lifeboats for the human species, are atthe center of our analysis of the economic andenvironmental foundations of social welfare systems.This focus on their needs and wealth provides aperspective with which to understand both the presentand the various alternative futures that presentthemselves. It is a fulcrum with which we may move theproblem of a sustainable future. (p. 9)For purposes of this study, Hillery’s (1955) definitionof community quoted in Garbarino (1982) is used: “Communityconsists of persons in social interaction within ageographic area and having one or more common ties” (p.111). This position advocates for the development of24supportive environments which would be sustainable in thecurrent atmosphere of restraint. The cohousing model wasselected as an example of a community development strategythat addresses the problem of social isolation experiencedby families where they live.Porcino (1991) has offered the most cogent frameworkfor the study of housing as it relates to mental health.Where we live and who we live with affect how we think,feel and believe. A sense of home is central to ourpsychological well-being. We are all looking for aliving environment that supports our autonomy, empowersus by accentuating our potential, and nurtures us. Noarea offers greater potential for creative change thatof housing and life-style. (p. xv)The value of social networks and mutual aid inneighborhoods is highlighted by Swenson (1979). McCamant(1991) identified a major change in neighborhood life thathas adversely affected family life.We used to have strong neighborhoods because women werehome all the time--and they developed the networks.Now, most women work full—time, and extended familiesare no longer a reality. That’s why supportivenetworks outside of the family, like cohousingvillages, need to be built. (Porcino, 1991, p. 69)The goal of the cohousing model is to establish andmaintain a sense of community. It offers an innovativeapproach to provide natural helpers and informal socialsupport networks. As an example of a collaborative housing,it appears to create a supportive environment for familiesand individuals.25Chapter 2METHODOLOGYResearch DesignThe cohousing model is relatively unknown locally ornationally in Canada. Cohousing communities that follow theDanish model were not in existence in North America at thetime of this research project. Groups that have formed withthe purpose of building cohousing communities arefunctioning in the early stages of development.The focus of this study was to explore why individualswere motivated towards the cohousing model. No researchstudies have been done about the motivation of cohousinggroup members or about how the model influences family life.Conducting an exploratory study was most appropriate for anew field of study in which little work had been done. Thisqualitative research project could provide a beginning pointfor becoming familiar with a new topic (Patton, 1991; Rubin& Babbie, 1989). Due to the recency of the cohousing model,exploring the motives of members of pioneer cohousing groupswill provide a backdrop against which future research may bedesigned.Individual interviews were conducted with selectedmembers of two groups. Because all respondents werecohousing group members, it was assumed that there would be26a commonality in the motivation of respondents. Thephenomenological focus of the analysis highlighted themeaning of the experience as it related to an individual’smotivation for being a member in the pioneer group. Acontent analysis of the interviews revealed a number of mainthemes.SampleA purposeful sample was drawn from the two groupsavailable to the researcher, one group from the UnitedStates and one from Canada. The Winslow group in Washingtonhad been operating as a group for over 2 years. TheCanadian group, in the Vancouver area in British Columbia,had been functioning for about 6 months.Subjects were selected because of their experiences asactive members of the cohousing groups. Fifteen respondentsvolunteered to be interviewed. This number represents atotal of 10 households.Nine respondents from 6 households participated fromthe Washington group. They represented about 14% of thetotal population of about 65 members. The 2 respondents whowere involved in the pre—test phase were excluded from thesample. All members of the 4 households from the Vancouvergroup were interviewed. This number represents 100%participation.27Background of the Washington GroupThe Winslow Cohousing Group was founded in January,1989 (Fromm, 1991). The principal organizer, Chris Hanson,a development consultant, organized the first informationmeeting which was held in the town of Winslow, Washington inDecember 1988. Of the 44 people that attended that firstmeeting, 4 individuals are still with the project.The Winslow Cohousing Group was the first NorthAmerican cohousing group to have progressed to the point ofconstruction in their project. At the time of theinterviews, they had begun building the residences and thecommon house in Winslow. The town is located on BainbridgeIsland, a 30 minute ferry ride across Puget Sound west ofSeattle.The group has environmental concerns. The sign postedon the 5.25 acre site stated: “Future home of WinslowCohousing: an environmentally sensitive pedestrian villageof 30 private residences.” As much as possible, theoriginal wooded site had been preserved. As an additionalconcession to their environmental concerns, the groupabandoned the original plan of building a wood-burningfireplace in each residence.The parking area was placed around the perimeter of thesite. The group wanted to limit the number of vehicles toone per household. It was felt that residents could take28the 15 minute walk to the ferry terminal to commute toSeattle.The project received media attention includingnewspaper and magazine articles. A number of the groupmembers had been involved in publicity efforts regardingtheir project. A national television broadcastingcorporation planned to cover their opening day. They hadscheduled their ‘move in’ date for January 1992.Background of the Vancouver GroupThe Windsong Cohousing Association was located inVancouver, British Columbia. In January 1991, the initiatorof the group, Howard Staples, placed an. ad in a communitypaper for interested persons to contact him about anintentional community. Several individuals responded. Atthe time of the interviews, the group had six active membersand had been meeting for about 6 months. The group wasoperating in the earliest phase of development.The cohousing project had received media attention withnewspaper articles and radio interviews. The group wasinvolved in public education as well as determining alocation for their cohousing community. Two publicinformation sessions were held to attract more members. Twomembers from the Winslow group presented their story duringthe first meeting. One hundred people attended and anadditional 50 people were turned away because there were no29more seats. People came from the Vancouver mainland and asfar away as Vernon in the interior of British Columbia.Demographic Profile of the SampleA composite of demographic information provides aprofile of the sample.Gender and ageThe sample was composed of 15 respondents. Thisincluded 6 men and 8 women ranging in age from 25 years to58 years. In addition to the adults, one male youth who was16 years of age also participated.Household composition and marital statusThere were 10 households represented in the sample.There were 5 households of single persons and 5 householdsof families. The family units included 4 two-parentfamilies and 1 single-parent family.Level of educationAll adult respondents had post—secondary education.This ranged from some college courses, one year certificate,30undergraduate degrees to graduate degrees. The teenager wasa high school student.Occupation / trade/professionRespondents were involved in predominantly white collarprofessions. The fields of work included management,technical writing, legal, administration, engineering,medical, astrology, and computer technology. One respondentworked part-time in the field of domestic labour.IncomeIncome levels are reported for each group of Americanand Canadian respondents. There is limited comparabilitybecause of the value difference of the currency.Income for the American households was reported asranging from “low” (respondent did not reveal exact amàunt)to $61,000 for a single person. For a family of 4, combinedfamily annual income was reported as ranging from $40,000 to$51, 000.For the Canadian households, combined family annualincome ranged from $60,000 for a family of 4 to $100,000 fora family of 3. One single person reported an income of$20,000 for part—time employment.31Housing and level of satisfactionThe respondents lived in a variety of housingsituations. Seven households lived in rental accommodationswhich included apartments, a duplex, a fourplex, and singledetached houses. Two individuals shared accommodations in ahouse with other single persons. One member also owned asingle detached house that was in the process of being soldto facilitate the move to the cohousing community. Onefamily was living in a single detached home for almosttwenty years.When asked about their level of satisfaction with theircurrent housing situation, respondents varied in theiranswers. The responses ranged from “somewhat satisfied” to“very satisfied with the physical setting” to “dissatisfiedwith community setting” and “dissatisfied with socialisolation.”MeasureAll respondents were asked open—ended questions by theresearcher who followed the interview guide. The guide wasdeveloped from themes identified in the literature. It waswas revised after it was pre—tested with two respondents.The first part of the interview guide addressed 11topic areas that attempted to explore why respondents weremotivated towards cohousing. Several sample questions were:32“What were the kind of issues that influenced you to pursuecohousing as a housing arrangement for you and your family?”“In regards to friendships, how do you think your newsituation in cohousing will be different than it is now?”“What are the benefits and limitations to family life incohousing?” “How would you describe the people who areinterested in cohousing--including yourself?” The firstpart of the guide is replicated in Appendix 1.The second part of the interview guide posed questionsregarding basic demographic information such as age, familycomposition, and educational level. Respondents were alsoasked to indicate their level of satisfaction with theircurrent housing situation. The demographic information formis replicated in Appendix 2.Interview ProcessThe researcher conducted all 10 individual interviewswith the members of the household who had consented toparticipate. The number of respondents per interview rangedfrom 1 individual to 3 family members.The interview was divided into 2 parts following thestructure of the interview guide. All questions were askedverbally during the first part.During the second part of each interview, theresearcher displayed the form requesting demographicinformation to the respondents. Questions were asked33verbally with reference made to the form. The form was alsoused to record all relevant personal data.Length of InterviewIndividual interviews ranged in length from 1 to 3hours including breaks. The longer interviews were held withgroups of 2 or 3 respondents.LocationThe interviews were held in different locations.Respondents were asked to choose a specific date and timewithin specific timelines for the interview. Locations andtimes were determined upon mutual agreement with theresearcher.Locations in Seattle and Winslow were selected for theWashington group. Interviews for the Vancouver group wereheld in Vancouver and Ladner, British Columbia.The ten interviews were held at different sites.Six interviews were held in the homes of the respondents.One interview was conducted in the office of one respondentduring office hours. One interview was conducted in arestaurant close to the office of one of the respondents.It was held after office hours. One interview was conductedin the researcher’s home at the request of the respondent.34Appropriately, the last interview was held at theconstruction site of the Winslow community. During the dayof that interview, the researcher joined a number of groupmembers who had gathered to begin the task of landscapingthe site. The hours worked contributed towards theirportion of the sweat equity of the project. The respondentleft the work group to participate in the interview. It wasconducted in the shell of one of the housing units that hadbeen recently framed.Time FrameInitial contact with the Washington group was made inJanuary, 1991. Contact with the Vancouver group wasinitiated in May, 1991. Face-to-face interviews wereconducted during July and August of 1991.Ethical Considerations and Informed ConsentThe Board of Directors of the Winslow Cohousing Groupreviewed the research proposal and granted approval toproceed with the study. The leader of the WindsongCohousing Association was delegated the authority to provideapproval for the study to proceed with the Vancouver group.All respondents signed a consent form. A copy is includedin Appendix 3.35The respondents of each group were known to each otheras well as among the two cohousing groups. It was commonknowledge among the group that certain members had giventheir consent to be interviewed for the research study.However, to maintain required confidentiality, theresearcher did not divulge the names or responses of theparticipants to other group members.ConsiderationsDetermining the most appropriate time to engage membersin the interview process was an important consideration foreach group. During a particular phase in the project, theWashington group was experiencing extreme difficulty intheir process. Approaching members to participate in thestudy was ill-advised. Adjusting to the timelines wasrequired.The Vancouver group had only recently identifiedthemselves as a cohousing entity. As their project was atthe infancy stage, the members were dealing with a number ofgroup dynamics and process issues which is characteristic ofgroup formation. As well, it was important to allow asufficient period of time and length of group involvementfor the individuals to crystallize their views.36AnalysisRecording DataAll ten interviews were audiotape recorded. Five ofthe interviews were transcribed. This total included 3 ofthe 6 interviews conducted with the Washington group and 2of the 4 interviews conducted with the Vancouver group.Five interviews were transcribed by two independent typists.One exchange regarding the demographic information was tapedand transcribed.The researcher reviewed the balance of the audio tapes.Based on initial analysis of the transcriptions, significantpoints were noted. Verbatim quotes for inclusion in thisreport were transcribed also.Process of AnalysisA content analysis of each interview was completed.Primary patterns in the data were identified, coded andcategorized (Patton, 1991). The interview guide wasorganized by topics and thus provided a classificationsystem for the content analysis. Each interview wasanalyzed line by line. Each paragraph was coded using thetopics covered by the interview guide. Several regularlyrecurring themes emerged. The main themes were categorizedand dimensions of each category were identified.37CodingOpen coding was used to take the data apart intodiscrete parts (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). Concepts werelabelled. The concepts were grouped into categories. Axialcoding was used to group the data. A number of main themesemerged.Answers to common questions were provided by differentrespondents and grouped together by separate topics.Indigenous constructs generated by respondents were utilized(Patton, 1991). Cohousing members created a number of termsthat captured the essence of the experience for them. Inaddition, sensitizing concepts formulated by the researcherwere used (Patton, 1991). The results of the analysis arereported in Chapter 3.38Chapter 3RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONThe cohousing community is a Danish model ofcollaborative housing. The model employs a grassrootsapproach to development. As cohousing group members, therespondents had a vision of cohousing that maintained theirinvolvement in the project despite the high cost, bothfinancially and emotionally. What were their motives? Thisquestion is the focus of this exploratory study. A numberof main themes emerged from the content analysis. Allquotes are presented verbatim from the transcripts withoutediting for grammatical rules or English usage.Major ThemesThe content analysis of the data revealed five majorthemes related to the respondents’ motivations. Thesethemes are:1. The respondents wanted to live “in community.” Anumber of sub themes emerged that related to thisdesire for community. The respondents wanted tohave meaningful relationships, to feel connectedand to experience a sense of belonging.2. The respondents wanted a safe and enrichedenvironment for their children.393. The respondents wanted to “share the load” of dailyliving.4. The respondents had a spirit of adventure. Theywere willing to risk, to try something new, andwanted to “push the boundaries.”5. The respondents were motivated by personal growthand self—development needs.Each of these themes is described in more detail in thefollowing sections.A Desire to Live In CommunityOne of the major themes expressed by all respondentswas a desire to live in corrimunity with others. They shareda number of similar experiences throughout their childhoodand adult years that indicated that they had experienced asense of community. They wanted to regain or recapture thissense of community and were receptive to the idea of livingin a cohousing community.One respondent recounted childhood memories of growingup in a rural community. The men rallied to help each otherbring in the crops while the women cooked huge meals thatwere shared together. There was a sense of camaraderie andinterdependence. However, as modern machinery and equipmentwere introduced on the farm, individual farmers became self—sufficient. He said, “there’s no doubt in my mind that [I40am] harking back to that time and trying to recapture someof that sense of being a kid in a rural setting.”One respondent had lived and worked in a touristvillage since his adolescence and indicated that because ofthis experience, the concept of cohousing fit for him. Hesaid:It just seemed the natural course. I don’t know whypeople don’t do this more often. Why they go out andbuild one solitary house and never know their neighbornext door--I’ll never understand that kind of thinking.To me it’s just a natural way of looking at life.Other respondents recalled living in group settingssuch as shared housing, a kibbutz in Israel, and a communalfarm. One respondent had grown up on a kind of compound inSouth American that was home to thirty English-speakingfamilies. The adults in the close community shared in thecare of the children.One respondent had lived in an apartment complex inwhich the units opened onto a common courtyard. Theproximity of the units and the connecting pathways enabledthe residents to watch out for each other. However,individual privacy was not invaded. The respondentindicated that this experience served as an intermediatestep towards cohousing.One respondent had been involved in planning a similarhousing project but did not move in. She said, “it waskind of a dream that I had put aside and didn’t think I’dever get an opportunity to do again.” Involvement in the41cohousing project became the fulfillment of an arresteddream. In addition, this respondent’s participation in aglobal peace march influenced her decision to join thecohousing group. It was through this experience that shemade the following conclusion:We’re tribal people and that nuclear family situationsand living separately is not normal, that what is thenorm of our species is to be in community with eachother. So in a real personal way I felt the need forcommunity and kind of in a theoretical way, too, Icould see it.Another respondent felt that cohousing represented astarting point for a model of a global community. He said:Another reason why I got involved--I like to live, inmy lifetime, to be living in a global village and Iwould like to see communities all across Canada or theworld where each one is trusting each other and we canassist each other through community development. And Ifeel there’s no best place to start than right here——at home.Many respondents had experienced varying degrees ofsocial isolation living in their current neighborhoods. Forseveral respondents, their homes provided for seclusion butnot for the sense of community. They were dissatisfied withthis aspect of their neighborhoods because their needs forconnectedness and a greater sense of community were not met.They were motivated towards the cohousing model because itis designed to meet these needs. One respondent capturedthe essence of this motivation by saying:I think it [cohousing] sort of caught on. I mean thatafter we were in for awhile, it wasn’t the houses——itdidn’t make much difference——it was this community andall the support you could get and things like that.42Within the major theme of a desire for community,several subthemes emerged. Respondents wanted meaningfulrelationships and a sense of belonging. They believed thatthis was possible in the cohousing model of community. Thecohousing model is based on collaboration rather thancompetition. Greater interaction has contributed to thedevelopment of meaningful relationships among group members.Propinquity in the community was a contributing factor inrealizing this objective. Respondents said:You discover this hole that was this emptiness that youdidn’t even——weren’t even conscious of——until yousensed that this flood of emotion that you’ve beenliving in a starved environment or a starved socialpersonal environment.I felt that community is the one antidote to isolation,and I think, an American loneliness. I think thatactually creating communities is kind of arevolutionary activity and I’m really motivated by thatthought actually.I think cohousing would allow individuals to live pastone hundred years old——my personal belief——because thereason why people are dying these days earlier thanthey should is that there’s no social group——networkfor people.The only quality of life that counts, I think, ishuman—to—human relationships.The experience so far of having meaningfulrelationships with a variety of people outside of myfamily has helped me a lot to be a healthier personinside my family.What is very important to me is just connecting withpeople.It will be much, much more easy to interact with thepeople that live in the same community and I certainlyexpect to find some really good, close friends right inthe community. Ideally, that’s what I want.43I think it will really enhance just the feeling ofbelonging and the quality of life being, in my mind,interactions between people.The cooking aspect, the safety for the children, howthey can learn to interact with other people--that’sreally important to me. A sense of knowing who otherpeople are, having people to share things with that areclose by, knowing your neighbours, these are the kindsof things that I really like about the cohousing idea.One respondent likened the group process to a groupmarriage.And all at once I realized that it was something that Idid actually feel really committed to. I knew thepeople, the process. I understood the process, Iaccepted the process, which is really difficult. It’sponderous. It can be just irritating and infuriating,and it’s also more rewarding than any other thing I’veprobably done. It’s like a group marriage, you know,in the sense that it requires enormous commitment.This analogy of community being like marriage becauseof the degree of commitment is echoed in the literature byPeck (1987). The motivation for a sense of belonging issimilar to social incentives of attachment, socialrelatedness and belongingness (Veroff & Veroff, 1980). Itcorresponds to Maslow’s need for belonging and Alderfer’s(1989) need for relatedness. It departs from the decline ofolder women’s affiliation motives identified by Veroff,Reuman, and Feld (1984).For several couples, only one partner was interested inthe concept of cohousing initially. Through the onepartner’s influence, interest in cohousing emerged for theother partner. Respondents stated that being involved inthe cohousing project became part of the commitment to themarriage.44A Desire for a Safe and Enriched Environment for ChildrenAlthough respondents were generally satisfied withtheir physical quality of their housing, some of theirinitial motivation was a desire for a more social kind ofneighborhood. They wanted a safe and secure neighborhoodand enriched environment for themselves and their children.they might be “like an extended family.” Respondents said:Young families are looking for a stable safeenvironment for their children where they don’t have togo too far to find their children playing.I’m really looking forward to the fact that there willbe other adults for our kids [teenagers] to interactwith and use as — partly as role models. Actually, Ithink the interaction with other adults is one of themost important things I see.It’s a warmth, a feeling of belonging, a feeling ofknowing a lot of people and of just feeling it’s agreat place to grow up. To a child growing up, itmight even seem like an extended family.Those of us who .have children have the need to raiseour children around many age groups, many people withdifferent viewpoints. I think that’s very healthy.It’s not so much that we’re seeking benefit on amaterial level. We want to expose our children so theywill have a sense of being able to work with people asthey grow.Members of the cohousing groups shared in child careactivities. The teenagers baby-sat the young childrenduring meetings. The adults related to the children innurturing ways and provided supervision. The childreninteracted with all members of the community and would go toany person for comfort or assistance. Group members who45were child free, or whose family had grown, looked forwardto relationships with the children. Respondents said:I’m looking forward to interacting with kids more.They [older people] didn’t want to sit around and watchthe sunset every night. They want to watch childrenplay.I’m looking forward to being another adult in thesechildren’s lives and offering them attention that maybetheir parents are a little frayed and can’t give it tothem. I’m looking forward to those relationships alot.There was a sense that the children were a veryimportant part of the community as evidenced by the siteplan. The Winslow site was designed with the needs ofchildren as a priority. Play areas were strategicallyplaced between the units where parents and neighbors couldkeep visual contact with the children. Parking was separatefrom the walkways and children’s play areas. The car lotswere located at the perimeter of the site to ensure thatvehicular traffic would not pose a danger to the children.The desire for a child-safe and child-friendlyenvironment is also found in the literature, particularly byCooper Marcus and Sarkissian (1986). Residents in Danishcohousing communities were motivated towards theseobjectives as well.However, some respondents were concerned about how theteenagers would fit into the group and whether they wouldfeel that they belonged. One of the tasks of adolescence isto become independent and to forge a separate identity. In46contrast, one of the goals of cohousing is interdependenceand reliance on others.As well, some teenagers were concerned about the nameof their community. They did not want to be perceived asbeing somehow different from their peers, nor did they wantit known that they were living in a project or in low incomehousing.During one family interview, the teenager said: “Ididn’t have much say in it. I didn’t like it at first. Ididn’t want to move.” Literature about European communitiesexpressed a similar concern with how adolescents would beintegrated into the community.A Desire to Share the LoadThe cohousing community was viewed as providingassistance to families and individuals. One respondentexpressed a “total belief that no one should be stranded ina nuclear family.” This is an interesting perspectivebecause it challenges the notion that the family is sacredand exclusive. It runs counter to the commonly—held beliefthat the family should meet all the needs of its members orit has failed. Respondents believed that the cohousingcommunity would be a valuable resource to the family. Itwas “taking the pressure off the nuclear family” and“broadening the base of support.”47The recognition that families cannot do it all alone isvoiced by Brazelton (1992) and Garbarino (1990). They havealso taken the position that society or the community musttake responsibility to assist families.Respondents regarded sharing experiences of parentingas supportive. They said:It’s pretty stressful if there are problems in thefamily. Having other people around can often providefamilies with new insight or can relieve the stress.I think it’s a big benefit to a family to haveimportant meaningful relationships• outside the family.I’ve just got lots of support from people. It’samazing how many people with grown children have hadsimilar problems. We began to see what it would belike to build a real closeness with people. We don’thave any family in this area and neither of the othercouples do.Women with children seek cohousing as an opportunity toshare the load.It appears that women were drawn to the cohousing modelbecause of safety issues and the opportunity for assistancewith raising children. This finding is consistent with workdone by Hayden (1984), Franck & Ahrentzen (1989), Wekerle(1988), and Wekerle & Novac (1989) who identifiedcommunities that were developed by women to meet these sameneeds.Through the group process and frequent contact withgroup members, supportive networks have emerged. Onerespondent said that cohousing people had “a large need andcommitment to community — to be a supportive caring networkaround them.” These connections resembled an extended48family or acted as a substitute family. However, there wereno formal family roles. The networks provided benefits forindividuals and families. There was an implicit expectationthat members of the group would be helpful to each other.Specific examples of instrumental support included providingtransportation and helping with household chores and officework during times of illness and injury. Due to theproximity of neighbors, respondents felt that there would beopportunities for interdependence and assistance on a dailybasis. This included lending tools and helping with tasksrelated to house and yard maintenance. Respondents believedthat sharing the evening meal in the common house was a veryimportant benefit for working parents and singles. It wouldalso provide an opportunity to connect with other residents.Respondents also indicated a willingness to give andreceive emotional support. They said:When you’re having a hard time, you let each other knowit. I think one thing that’ll be really different isthe ability to ask people for help.It will be easier to be more interdependent when livingthat closely with those people.I know if I really needed someone, they would be there.I think .it’s a pretty supportive group of people.There is a knowledge about what you can rely on peoplefor as far as their patience, their thoughtfulness,their fairness, that I feel I know these people betterthan I’ve ever known any people anywhere in thatregard. Because of the fact of working together onserious problems.I can’t think of anything where people wouldn’t bewilling to help each other out.49These findings are consistent with the literature. Thesocial motivations as identified in the study are analogousto the social motive of interdependence (Veroff & Veroff,1980). The importance of social support networks ashighlighted in the study is also recognized by Garbarino(1982, 1987, 1990, 1991) and Porcino (1991)A Desire to Push the BoundariesRespondents have a spirit of adventure. Theydescribed themselves in these ways: “ready for somethingnew,” “willing to risk,” “take the challenge,” “take achance,” “adventuresome,” “courageous,” “idealistic,” “a lotof energy,” “aliveness,” “passionate people,” “committed toan idea,” “scared optimists,” “leaders not followers,”“self—sufficient,” “self—sustaining,” “reasonably whole,”“reasonably balanced,” “not perfect,” and “growing.”Respondents said:Most of us are pretty firmly planted in the ground interms of taking care of ourselves but a little bit morewilling to risk and try something new.The people that have joined this are people that willtake kind of a challenge or a risk. Cohousing isn’tsomething for people that just follow at this point.It may, in ten or fifteen years, it may be, but thepeople that have joined are all people that sort of goout of their way to do things, that look for somethingnew and are innovators and the sort of ‘take charge’type of people.What motivates me is that kind of experimental natureof it. I always like to push the boundaries a littlebit of what’s expected and see what happens.50I’ll be very curious to see how this works.It’s [cohousing] new to North America and I’d like toexperience it.It’s more interesting than anything I’ve ever done.That’s why I joined. It wasn’t just to have a place tolive, you know. I’ll always have a place to live.This is a social experiment. And I want to know what’sgoing to happen next.These exploratory goals as motivations correspond withthe curiosity incentive of Veroff and Veroff (1980). CarlRogers described persons who are authentic as taking risksbeyond their typical natures and styles, to try newexperiences and challenges. Respondents involved in thecohousing process can be seen as authentic persons in theirmotivation to push the boundaries.A Desire for Personal Growth and Self-fulfillmentWhen respondents became involved in the participatoryprocess of making decisions by consensus, they realized anumber of benefits for their involvement. They were able toexercise more control and personal choice over theirdestiny. Through active participation, members of the groupwere able to clarify their own personal goals and objectivesin terms of what they wanted for themselves. Respondentssaid:As far as quality of life, there are all those thingsI’ve learned from being involved in this process.Learning about how consensus really works, learningjust by struggling as a group, the best ways to dealwith issues in a way that’s fair to everyone.51I think that’s what ultimately tipped me towardsjoining and not being an observer. And not because itwas easy, but I’m just so impressed by the consensusmodel as a working model, a workable model. . . Thoseare difficult choices to make, but you’re making themfor the sake of something larger. In that sense it’s amicrocosm. It’s a model. And I keep working at itbecause it has to work. If this can’t work, then howthe hell can they expect the rest of the world to work?• . .the opportunity for growth and change, personally,and a group, you would be growing with one group. Butoverall, holistic outlook and quality of living, Iassume would be much, much higher.I think, not that it’s easy, I mean, I think sometimesjust the fact that it [the process] isn’t easy is whathelps develop it. You know, you go through so muchtogether that when you finally move in together, it’snot a matter of, ‘oh, now we have to create acommunity’— you’ve already done it in the sense of youknow these people. You see those ucky sides that youdon’t usually show each other, because you’re tired,you’re frustrated, you’re afraid, whatever it is. Ithink those things are really critical for having atrue community where you can trust each other and stuffbecause you’ve had to already.I think the difficulties we’ve had, both financial anddecision making and things, have taught us how to livetogether, how to really care about each other and toreally be considerate of other people’s ideas.This development process does make people work togetherin a way they would never have been encouraged to do.You will have become close to people you would havenever have gotten to know because you’ve worked withthem day and night--literally.What motivated me was essentially meeting with thepeople that were involved and the feeling of creatingsomething, working together with people that I hadn’thad for a long time.I think this idea of working together with somebodytowards a goal is something that’s really important tome and it’s an important part of cohousing. It’s notjust living together--I think you have to be workingtowards something.The respondents engaged in a dynamic group process thatwas supportive. They felt safe to take risks, to move52beyond the routine, the usual and the ordinary. The groupprocess became a crucible for personal growth in whichindividuals were able to try new experiences and face newchallenges. Their comments included:I learn a lot from seeing how people respond to thesame thing that I respond to.The participatory process is important because I thinkit’s a growing process. I mean I think everybody growsthrough that in working it out and solving the problemstogether and the give and take that it takes.I don’t equate the quality of life with beingfrustration free. There’s something to be gained inparticipating in this group in no matter what it’sdoing. Because I learn about myself, I learn aboutlife, I learn about a lot of things because I have thisopportunity to participate in whatever we are doing.We’re going to be different people when we have livedin the way for some period of time, if we make a go ofit.Some respondents who were functioning in the initialphases of a project had slightly different views regardingthe participatory process. They said:I think it’s [the process] important but I’m not sureat this point how important. In other words, I’m notsure if the pain will result in the necessary gain so Iguess my goal through the process is to structure themost efficient possible means to get to the end.I can see the participatory aspect of it as being veryimportant to me just because that’s where the realintimacy connection develops in working though andsharing dreams as well as also being willing to sharedifferences.I think ultimately I’m going to go through a processand I’m either going to be happy with the end result orI’m not. That’ll be okay. I think it will allow me toget a lot clearer about what I want. And if I don’t doit here, I’ll do it somewhere else.53Respondents indicated that the process of consensusensured that everyone had an equal voice. Unlike communesor cults, there was no charismatic leader. Roles wereegalitarian. Each member facilitated general membershipmeetings. There was little hierarchical structure. To meetlegal requirements, members of the Washington groupvoluntarily served as officers. The power of the board waslimited to those tasks most expediently dealt with by asmaller decision making body. In addition, each memberparticipated in one or more committees to deal with specificissues. These committees included Membership, PublicRelations, Finance and People committees. The process wasmost successful when there was full participation by allmembers.The participatory development process was a long andarduous journey as members of the Winslow group testified.It appears, however, that the considerable investment oftime and energy has been worth while and a strong sense ofcommunity has emerged. As a means for working outdifferences and solving problems that occurred, theparticipatory development process resulted in true communitythat is conflict-resolving as defined by Peck (1987).As members of a grassroots movement, the respondentsexperienced a number of educational and psychologicalbenefits (Haggstrom, 1984). Kaplan and Kaplan (1982)identified the importance of struggling to achieve resultswhich contributes to a person’s growth and happiness.54It is a stubborn irony of human nature that humanscannot be given what they want. They are mosteffective, most constructive——yes, even happiest——whenthey are striving for what they want, when they arestruggling to get where they want to go. Humans are attheir best when they are coping and problem solving.They require an environment where this is possible.(p. 457)When the environment and circumstances are supportive, anindividual will be facilitated to act on the tendency togrowth, self-fulfillment, or self-actualization (Maslow,1967)55Chapter 4IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE AND SUMMARYImplications for Community PracticeThe results from this study have implications forcommunity practice and social policy. A number of selectedimplications will be addressed.Cohousing communities are a creative response to thesocial isolation that has been experienced in many urbanneighborhoods in European countries. There are a number ofEuropean examples of government sponsored social housingprojects that can be examined with the view of applying thismodel to North America. The new legislation in Denmark, TheCooperative Housing Association Law, made it easier and lessexpensive in that country to finance cohousing. As well,groups were encouraged to incorporate a greater diversity inthe composition of the households. With the new financingpossibilities, the mix of earlier cohousing residentscomposed of two-income families shifted to include singlepersons and single parent families.Disadvantaged groups experience a lack of access tocohousing communities on the Canadian scene. In consideringpractice implications, involvement in social actionstrategies may include pushing for social policy changes onmunicipal, provincial, and federal levels.56In terms of social policy, governments must realize thathousing is a primary concern for all households whetherindividuals or families. Because governments play a majorrole in housing, it is suggested that municipal, provincial,and federal housing departments provide grants or a loanstructure for low-income groups to participate in cohousingprojects.Providing equal access to adequate housing for personswith disabilities has social policy implications. Thecohousing community can be designed to meet the specialneeds of these residents. As an example, the Winslow sitehas been designed to be wheelchair accessible. Seniors andpersons with disabilities can benefit from living with across—generational mix of residents. The burden of dailyliving can be lightened as neighbors who interact with themcould be more aware of their needs and provide assistance.The Winslow group has planned for a daycare on theproperty that would be open to families from the community.In regards to daycare policy, future cohousing projects thatinclude a facility which provides for child care couldreceive additional government funding.A clear role for local community organizations andcommunity practioners could be the use of a public educationstrategy to provide information and facilitate communityparticipation. In their enabling function, communitypractioners and organizations could provide the means andresources for people to come together and facilitate57discussion about the cohousing model. Populations thatmight benefit from living in a cohousing community could beidentified and connected to resource people, such asarchitects, who would be willing to collaborate withcohousing groups.A Strategy to Provide for Supportive Early CareThe Washington group has responded to the needs of itsmembers in ways that are reminiscent of an extended family.Child care responsibilities have been shared by people whoare free from immediate and pressing familyresponsibilities. This group includes single persons andolder couples who have grown children. Children whosegrandparents live in another part of the country are being“adopted” by seniors whose grandchildren live a distanceaway from them. These relationships are mutually beneficialin the giving and receiving of affection and a consistentattention to each other’s well being.As well, single parent families could receive support andassistance on a daily basis. Informal supervision ofchildren by other residents in a secure setting wouldalleviate the total responsibility for child care on thesingle parent. In addition, there would be an availablepool of adult male role models to be involved with childrenof father—absent homes.58In later years, as the need arises for elderly personsor individuals who might suffer a loss of ability resultingfrom disease or injury, homecare or medical assistance couldbe provided within the group setting. Perhaps the need forlong—term placement of the elderly may be reduced oreliminated for some persons if they were to live in acohousing community. The supportive environment thatprovides a balance of privacy and community is a healthieroption than living alone or in an institution. Thisapproach might also increase longevity and promote a healthylifestyle.This perspective is supported in the literature. “Inconventional economic terms, every dollar invested insupportive early care saves four dollars in laterrehabilitative and compensatory care” (Garbarino, 1988,p. 11).An Opportunity to Promote MulticulturalismThe cohousing approach might also be explored as anopportunity to promote multiculturalism. The experience oflearning about each other’s traditions and customs could beenhanced through personal interactions during dailyactivities, such as preparing meals and doing yard worktogether in the community. With a constant exposure to richcross—cultural experiences, an increased awareness and59greater understanding of cultural diversity may reduceracial tension and prejudice.Limitations of the Cohousing ModelAffordabilityCohousing communities have become an establishedhousing option in Europe over the past twenty years. Withfinancial support through government incentives, living in acohousing community was a viable option for many people.Europeans were able to make substantial savings and enjoyedadditional benefits that they would be unable to afford ontheir own, such as photography darkrooms, pottery wheels,and music rooms.At this point, North American participants in cohousingprojects are limited to the middle class. Financialresources are a key factor. Additional funds are requiredover a long period of time to maintain current housing whilemaking considerable investment in the project.Respondents from the Washington group viewed cohousingas “barely affordable.” Expensive land, construction budgetover—runs, as well as costly mistakes, had pushedrespondents to the edge of their financial resources.Financial strain was their greatest concern. This findingis contrary to Porcino’s (1991) assertion that the reason60people live in community was a way “to ease financialstress.” (p. xxvi)As a major step in the initial phase of their project,determining a site was the primary concern for the Vancouvergroup. Although exact figures were not available,respondents felt that cohousing was affordable in comparisonwith similar housing in similar locations.Perhaps as residents live in the community for a numberof years, they will experience a reduction in theirhousehold expenditures. As they pool their resources, suchas laundry facilities, tools and equipment (e.g. lawnmowers,rototillers, wheelbarrows) as well as participate in bulkbuying for common household foods and commodities,individual expenses will decrease.Cultural and Racial DiversityAlthough all respondents from the Washington group werevery desirous of having a racial mix of residents, thiscultural diversity was absent from their community. Allmembers of the group were white. Respondents indicated thatdisadvantaged minorities were unable to participate becauseof a lack of financial resources. Due to their ownlimitations, the group was unable to subsidize housing ontheir site in order to facilitate a diversity of residents.As a compromise, the group sold a parcel of their land to61the local housing authority to develop into low incomehousing.The Vancouver group also wanted cultural diversity intheir community. At the time of the study, only one of thesix group members was non—white (Asian). It is possiblethat this ratio could change because the multiculturalpopulation of Vancouver might increase the probability of aracial mix of neighbors.Individual PrivacyProspective cohousing residents may express concernabout whether they would have individual privacy. Somepersons might feel that living in close proximity with agroup of people would be like living in a fishbowl. Theymay feel that there would be insufficient provision forsolitary pursuits or making one’s own decisions about one’slife. Perhaps residents would need to develop a code ofnon—verbal signs or gestures, such as pulling the kitchendrapes closed, thus indicating: “I want to be alone rightnow. Please don’t approach me. It doesn’t mean I don’tlike you. It just means I need time by myself.”Common ValuesThe model is limited to participants who have commonvalues about sharing and collaboration rather than62competition. The effectiveness of community life reliesheavily on consideration of each other. It is intended tobe self—monitored. Living in a cohousing community requiresa high level of compromise and tolerance for individualdifferences. This may not be easily attainable in theheterogeneous society of North America. As well, theprevailing attitude of “do your own thing” may preclude thisoccurring.To facilitate the effectiveness of community lifeandthe sense of working as a team, individual desires must becompromised occasionally in deference of the collective goodof the group. Some individuals and families may beunwilling or unable to make these adjustments to theirlifestyle or pattern of relating to others. For example,the Washington group had planned that all households wouldaccess the laundry facilities built in the commonhouse foruse by the entire community. However, some familiesinsisted on installing washers and dryers in their privateresidences.The currently held ideal of rugged individualism thatis defined by Peck (1987) may be so firmly entrenched thatit may be premature for North Americans to follow themodel’s framework of interdependence, sharing, and makingconsensual decisions. Perhaps the drive to control one’sown destiny may present a conflict when it is so closelyintertwined with the destiny of others.63Participants may also experience a. sense of failure ifthey are unable to follow the kind of ideals embodied in thepurist version of the model which was founded within ahomogenous society. There may need to be a number ofintermediate projects before the model is fully accepted.Including Adolescents as Community MembersIn their search for their own identity, teenagers needan arena that is safe for them to try a myriad of behaviorsand receive helpful feedback. Oftentimes familiesexperience the brunt of this exploration. Perhapsadolescents who live in a cohousing community might feelrestricted in that they cannot be themselves in their homebecause it is extended to the entire community. As well,because of their status as minors, they may feel that theyare not full participants in making decisions.Support for Families in TransitionThe cohousing community offers an option for coupleswho experience marital stress. The guestrooms providetemporary respite. One partner could have some space awayfrom the home yet not leave the community while the coupleis sorting out the difficulties.If a couple with children was to separate or divorce,both parents could continue to live in the community. The64disruption to the children’s lives may be minimized. Accessto both parents could be maintained as well as keeping otheraspects of their lives unchanged. The children could attendthe same school, play with the same friends and continuecommunity activities with other residents. This kind ofarrangement may meet the children’s needs for security,stability, and continuity of relationships. However, it maynot meet the needs of the adults. It is doubtful that theparents would be able to develop other primary relationshipswithin the same community with complete tolerance oracceptance of the former partner or other residents.Complete Resident ManagementTo ensure that complete resident management ispossible, a commitment to community life, group activitiesand responsibilities to the on-going maintenance of the yardand common facilities is required. This includes committeework and group meetings which can add additionalresponsibility to primary relationships within the family.These demands may become burdensome at times and may tend tocompound the stress of a busy family and work life.Although cohousers claim no particular ideology, a kindof “groupthink” may develop among persons who live closelywith each other in a similar fashion to an extended family.Constraints may be imposed upon individual expression, forexample, on how the exterior of homes are to be finished and65decorated. As well, families might experience pressure tofollow a prescribed community version or style of parenting.One respondent from the study felt that her family wouldhave to curtail yelling to each other which was a common andaccepted communication pattern for them. There might be thesense that there would always be someone looking over yourshoulder.Participatory ProcessThe arduous process of designing and developing thecommunity through the participation of all its members isnot for the faint—hearted. It demands the most tenacious ofsouls. It requires a high tolerance for lengthy meetingsand dealing with ambiguity as issues are clarified, viewsare expressed, and decisions of varying degrees ofcomplexity and impact are made through consensus. As well,making decisions by consensus is generally an unfamiliarprocess for most North Americans where the majority votepattern prevails. It takes considerable effort, energy, andcommitment to persevere with this model. of making decisions.Respondents have become discouraged and grown wearywith this ponderous process. Despite the drawbacks, theWashington group felt that this process was a criticalelement for building a sense of community and creating ashared history among the members. There was some concernthat members who joined the group later, when this process66was completed, may not have the same bonding experience asthose first members. Respondents also revealed that theyhad to put the rest of their lives on hold while they spentall their time on the cohousing project. They felt thatthey had made enormous personal sacrifices for their dream.The design and development phases require skills andknowledge in specific fields such as legal, engineering,architecture, and project management. Accessing thisexpertise, often resident within the group, can poseproblems when these individuals do not performsatisfactorily. One of the groups experienced a crisispoint in their project when conflict and dissension resultedaround this issue.However, hiring the required experts may be prohibitivebecause the cohousing concept is relatively unknown in NorthAmerica. The required professionals may be unaware of theprinciples of the model and may not be sympathetic to thegoals of the group. For example, an architect may beunwilling or unable to work with group or committeedecisions about an entire community. This participatorydesign process presents a range of dynamics and constraintsthat are not found in the customary way of dealing with asingle individual or a couple in regards to one houseplan.67Limitations of the StudyDetermining an individual’s motivation through self—report is tenuous at best. An individual’s motives shiftover time and one’s understanding and recollection of howdecisions were made often change.There are a number of issues that impact on the validityof the study. Respondents may have felt that they should bepositive in their comments because negative remarks wouldhave reflected badly on themselves, the group, and theentire project. They may have wanted to present theirdecisions in the best light. The results, therefore, mayreflect an overly optimistic portrait of the cohousingmodel. Additionally, because the respondents have not yetexperienced living in the cohousing community, they may notbe fully cognizant of all the problems therein.The interviews were conducted over a short time period.Individuals’ responses to the questions are affected by anumber of factors, such as: the phase of the project, theprogress made to date, the level of satisfaction with theprocess, and the relative strength of the individual’sresolve to persevere with the project. At best, the studycan serve to shed some light on the phenomenon of cohousingand how individuals are motivated towards it.68The interview guide as a measure has limited validity.It is not known whether the interview guide iscomprehensive. There is a possibility that all areas werenot explored in sufficient breadth or depth. As well, someimportant issues may have been inadvertently overlooked.The sample size is too small for confident or rigorousgeneralizations across time and space. Although membersfrom two groups were included, one from the United Statesand one from Canada, the perspectives of the respondentscannot be generalized to all cohousing group members inNorth America. As only one respondent was a teenager, hisremarks cannot be regarded as representative of alladolescents. The qualitative research design generated softdata about respondents which cannot be viewed asstatistically representative.The exploratory design of the study is an appropriateapproach to attempt to describe the motivation for theactions of an individual. It begins to uncover pertinentissues that are useful and understandable for speculatingabout the motivations of cohousing group members.Future Research PossibilitiesAs an exploratory study, this research project examinedthe motives of group members who had taken personalinitiative to pioneer a housing model that is new to NorthAmerica. Several questions were answered but many more69questions were raised. Replication studies would increasethe validity and reliability of the study and reveal furtherinsights into motivation.Conducting interviews with individuals and families whohad actually lived in the cohousing community for a periodof time would add weight to the study and may determine thedynamic or static nature of their motives. Many respondentsexpressed an interest in having the researcher return in tenyears time to determine if their expectations had been met.A longitudinal study to determine outcomes of living ina cohousing community would be informative. Investigatingthe impact of this model on individual and family life inregards to the stability of relationships and communityinitiative would provide insights into the benefits of thecohousing model. It may also serve as an example of how aclose-knit community might respond to the changing needs offamilies and individuals.SummaryRespondents were motivated towards cohousing because ofa number of universal human needs. They had needs forbelonging and for support. They wanted to live in communityand have a safe and enriched environment for their children.The respondents chose to meet these needs in an unusualmanner. They joined with other like-minded individuals andorganized themselves. Their goal was to design and develop70a cohousing community. While the traditional approach tohousing maintains the integrity of the family unit byreducing external influences, the cohousing model expandsthe sphere of influence.A desire to push the boundaries propelled respondentsthrough the participatory process of making decisions byconsensus. They experienced personal growth not realized inother ways. In addition, a caring and supportive atmospherewas created. Housing as a physical structure became almostsecondary. Although the initial attraction was for aspecific kind of setting, as respondents became engaged inthe development process, they expressed stronger motivationfor the sense of community and the support that would berealized by living in a cohousing community.Individuals did not appear to be drawn to cohousing asa solution to any major problems or difficulties that theymight have been experiencing. They were not coming from adeficit position but were motivated by the challenge ofdeveloping their own community. They took a grass—rootsapproach to finding alternate housing that would meet theirneeds for community. They engaged with others who werecommitted to making a difference in their lives and in thelives of their families.Some motivational theories advance a particularapproach to counselling in which taking. personalresponsibility for one’s life is the central focus.71Respondents had similar goals as they took control of theirlives within a group setting, rather than through atherapeutic intervention. The experiences of individualswho were involved in the development of a cohousingcommunity have affirmed the value of supportive environmentsin facilitating personal growth.Respondents were hopeful about the future of theircommunity. Because of the experiences they had sharedtogether, they felt positive about how they would resolvedifferences in living closely with each other. They hadfaith in the process and in the good will of the members.The cohousing model is a new concept in terms of planninghousing developments for urban settings. However, the modelis actually based on an old idea of living in a village inwhich neighbors were natural helpers.This study provides a starting point for discussion aboutthe cohousing model. It examined why individuals weremotivated towards the model. Cohousing group members wantedto live in a child—friendly and child—safe community thatwas supportive. Through the participatory process, theyexperienced personal growth and self—fulfillment.Findings suggest that the cohousing community has thepotential to create a supportive environment. 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The practice of social work (3rd. ed.).Chicago, IL: Dorsey.79APPENDIX 1INTERVIEW GUIDE1. Motivating FactorsWhat were the kind of issues that influenced you to pursuecohousing as a housing arrangement for you and your family?Probe: What was it about cohousing that attracted you toit?2. CommitmentWhat were the key factors that influenced your finaldecision to commit resources (time, energy, finances) tobecome full—time members and buy into the cohousing project?3. Description of Cohousing ModelI understand a cohousing community is a unique housingarrangement that combines the autonomy of private homes withthe advantages of community living. A community is createdthrough a unique combination of four characteristics. 1would like your perspectives about each of the fourcharacteristics of the cohousing model.a. Intentional Neighborhood DesignFirst, the site plan is designed intentionally to create aneighborhood through the layout of the clustered housing,doorways that face onto the pedestrian oriented connectingpathways, and separated parking.What feature of this neighborhood design do you see as mostimportant to you and your family?a. Extensive Common FacilitiesSecondly, extensive common facilities are planned for use bythe group together as a group. This includes the commonhouse which contains a large kitchen and dining room forcommon meals, children’s play areas and rooms for hobbiesand recreation.What facilities (common areas, play areas, daycare, laundry)will you or you family/children use?How much value do you place on these facilities?eg. high / medium / low / uncertain / no value80What additional services/facilities! resources would youlike to have in your community that have not been selectedor planned?a. Participatory Development ProcessThirdly, the cohousing community is planned, designed, anddeveloped through the active participation of all the groupmembers using a consensus model.How important do you feel this kind of process is in thedevelopment of the community?Why?d. Complete Resident ManagementI would like to hear your views about the fourthcharacteristic: complete resident management by which theresidents are responsible for the ongoing operation andmaintenance of the community.How do you feel about living within the guidelines andexpectations that have been determined by the group?e. Of the four characteristics that define the cohousingmodel, what feature do you value most?Why?4. MobilityHow long have you been pursuing this kind of housingsituation?Probe: As a vision / dream?What other living arrangements have you experienced thatwere attempts to reside in a similar setting?How do you think your new situation in cohousing will bedifferent?5. Friendships / Sense of CommunityOne of the objectives of the cohousing model is to increasesocial interaction. It appears to provide opportunities forfriendships to develop.In regards to the relationships/connections that you haveestablished already with cohousing group members, how welldo you know them? eg. really well / quite well / not at allHow frequently do you have contact with each other?81What do you want to happen in regards to developingfriendships with other group members?In regards to friendships, how do you think your newsituation in cohousing will be different than it is now?What are your views/feelings about the cohousinggroup/community as a substitute family or an extendedfamily?6. Natural Helping NetworksThe cohousing model appears to have a potential for naturalhelping networks to be established and maintained.Briefly, a social support network is defined as a set ofinterconnected relationships among a group of people thatprovides nurturing and assistance to cope with life on aday—to-day basis (Garbarino, 1983).a. Instrumental SupportIs there someone in the group that you could call on if youneeded help?b. Emotional SupportIs there someone in the group that you could turn to foremotional support?c. Reciprocity / MutualityWhat kind of help would you be willing to give to othermembers of the group?Probes: eg. members helping each other out...- with household repairs— loaning food items (borrow a cup of sugar)- loaning small amounts of money ($5 - $20)- running errands (dropping off a letter at the post office,picking up a prescription)— shopping for groceries- help with childcare7. AffordabilityHow affordable is cohousing?eg. barely affordable / comfortable / easily affordableHow will affordability be different in cohousing?Do you think that cohousing will raise your current standardof housing?82What impact will cohousing have on your quality of life?8. Raising ChildrenWhat are your views regarding cohousing as a place in whichto raise your children?Probes: eg. physical layout, general attitude of grouptowards children, benefits and limitationsWhat features of cohousing are important to you in raisingyour children?In regards to raising your children, how will your newsituation in cohousing be different than the one in whichyou are living in now?What are the benefits to family life in cohousing?What are the limitations to family life in cohousing?How do your children feel about living in the cohousingcommunity?9. Diversity of ResidentsCohousing appeals to a diversity of people i.e. people ofall ages with different backgrounds / interests /religions / family compositions.How will your life / your children’s lives be influencedthrough the experience of living with a diversity of people?How will the new situation be different than what you areexperiencing now?10. Description of Cohousing PeopleHow would you describe the people who are interested incohousing- including yourself?How are cohousing people different than other people youknow or are acquainted with?11. Unresolved IssuesDo you have any unresolved issues— unfinished business —about living in the cohousing community? What are they?83APPENDIX 2DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION FORM1. Please describe your current housing situation.single detached homeapartmentshared accommodation (describe)condominiumcooperative housingother (describe)2. How satisfied are you with your current housingsituation?very satisfied / somewhat satisfied / satisfied!very satisfied / very dissatisfied / other3. Please describe the composition of your household.4. What is your marital status?single (never married)marriedseparateddivorcedcommon— law5. EducationPlease indicate the highest level ofeducation / training achieved.6. Occupation / trade / profession7. Combined family annual income (range)8. Male / female9. Age84APPENDIX 3The University of British ColumbiaSchool of Social WorkCONSENT FORMI give my consent to participate as a subject in thestudy entitled: “Developing a CoHousing Community as aHousing Alternative: Motives and Perspectives of CoHousingGroup Members.” The interview will be conducted by MarilynJeske, a graduate student at the School of Social Work, TheUniversity of British Columbia, who is doing research forher thesis in partial fulfillment of the Master of SocialWork degree under the supervision of a faculty member,Mr. Roopchand Seebaran, Ph. (604) 228-3185.I understand the purpose of the interview will be toprovide information on my motivation and rationale forchoosing a cohousing community as my residence as well as toprovide basic demographic information. The interview willbe completed in approximately one and a half hours. Iunderstand that the interview will be audiotaped as a methodof data collection for analysis. The tape will be erasedafter completion of the research project.I understand that my participation is voluntary. Myinvolvement with the cohousing group will not be affected inany way by my participation, or lack thereof, in thisproject. I retain the right to refuse to answer anyquestions or to request that any answer that I provide beomitted from the record. I have the right to refuse toparticipate or withdraw at any time.I understand the procedures as explained by theresearcher, Marilyn Jeske, Ph. (604) 228-0860. She hasoffered to answer my questions concerning the procedures andto provide debriefing if appropriate.(name of subject)(signature of subject)(date)(name of researcher)(signature of researcher)(date)I have received a copy of the consent form.(signature of subject)APPENDIX 4 85The University of British Columbia B9l-207Office of Research ServicesBEHAVIOURAL SCIENCES SCREENING COMMITTEE FOR RESEARCHAND OTHER STUDIES INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTSCERTIFICATE of APPROVALINVESTIGATOR: Seebaran, R.UBC DEPT: Social WorkINSTITUTION: Winslow Cohousing GroupTITLE: Developing a cohousing community as ahousing alternative: Motives andperspectives of cohousing group membersNUMBER: B91-207CO-INVEST: Jeske, M.APPROVED: JJL 22 1991The protocol describing the above-named project has beenreviewed by the Committee and the experimental procedures werefound to be acceptable on ethical grounds for researchinvolving human subjects.Director, Research Servicesand Acting ChairmanTHIS CERTIFICATE OF APPROVAL IS VALID FOR THREE YEARSFROM THE ABOVE APPROVAL DATE PROVIDED THERE IS NOCHANGE IN THE EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURES

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