On January 9, 2012, 31 people attend a meeting of the Prairie Spruce Cohousing Inc (see the New Prairie Spruce Cohousing blog) at the United Way, 1440 Scarth St. (There will be another housing related meeting at the United Way at 7pm on Tuesday, January 17th, of the Queen City Tenant’s Association. See prairiedog.) Some of those people were retirees looking to age in place with a stable, friendly, community around them for support. Others were children, along with their parents, who likely had little idea what the meeting was about. That age difference is a part of cohousing, a kind of intentional neighbourhood, that these Reginans are looking to build together.
Cohousing is about residents designing a community that meets their needs with an emphasis on close co-operation, skill sharing, diversity and environmental stewardship, all guided by group consensus. There are community resources like, a community centre, kitchen, library, car-share, workshop etc, that help reduce the space needed for individual dwellings. Working cooperatively also allows for a critical mass of people to work on gardening, home repairs, cleaning and other work. The Regina group got underway when Shannon Wiebe, who works with clients and their families at the RRSCC, began to discuss, with her clients, a community concept where there could be a mix of independence, interaction and support.
In the last months, the group has expanded to include a variety of people interested in sustainable living and community building.
At the meeting, participants were asked to answer the following questions:
What attracted me to this community concept?
Who are our neighbours?
What can I offer the community?
What are my “must haves”?
The answers to these questions suggest that this group is looking to create an urban, mixed use neighbourhood that would have a variety of housing types and even may include rental. The residents have many skills that they would look to share with each other and the surrounding community. Connectivity is important, so biking, walking or taking the bus can be effective means of transportation. People wanted a place with music, pets, gardens and safe streets.
If cohousing sounds interesting to you, the next meeting is February 13th at 6pm at the United Way building 1440 Scarth St. For more information you can contact Shannon at 790-5682 or the blog.
For more information on cohousing and consensus building see Regina Cohousing.
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