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Cohousing Roundtable Virtual Event: Facilitator Teri Beckman on the Experience of Cohousing

Updated: Jan 24, 2021

The Cohousing Roundtable Virtual Event on February 27, 2021, will bring together representatives from several local cohousing communities in the Triangle. Event Facilitator Teri Beckman talks about the event's goals and what participants might discover there.

What is the Roundtable about?

Teri Beckman
Facilitator Teri Beckman

The Roundtable is a gathering of people who have experienced living in cohousing communities. We've tried to choose representatives from diverse cohousing communities. It includes families who are raising or have raised children in their communities, seniors who have chosen this as a path in their later years, LGBT folks who are looking for a safe place to live, as well as single people. It also includes urban and rural communities and those that are somewhat suburban. So, diverse demographics and diverse locations.

The panelists at the event will be:

Who is the Roundtable for?

It's for anyone interested in learning more about what living in a cohousing community might be like. We believe cohousing can meet a lot of different needs, especially in the times that we're in, and we really want to explore that. And so it's for anybody who is interested in learning more about what it might be like to actually live in a cohousing community.

Why is Bull City Commons holding the Roundtable?

As we're talking to people about possibly joining Bull City Commons, you can tell they are trying to get get a sense of "what would this experience really be like?" Since we're a developing community and we're not living in community yet, it's hard for us to fully communicate what that might be like.

So we thought this was a great opportunity to actually share the experiences of people who are living in communities now. The audience is anyone interested in cohousing, and us in the Bull City Commons emerging community as well.

So some of the topics that will be discussed are coming from the people you are talking to interested in joining Bull City Commons?

Yes, and questions our existing community has as well. As a developing community, for example, we're trying to figure out how to handle conflict. We haven't had a lot of conflict yet, but we can imagine that when we're living together, we will likely experience conflict at some point. So it's realistic to ask, what's a healthy way to work through that? That's one of the topics we want to explore at the Roundtable.

What do you hope people will get from this Roundtable that they would not get from, say, an hour and a half of internet research?

You can get a lot of basic information about what cohousing is on the internet, obviously. But I think there's nothing like talking to people about their lived experiences. Even if you can find that kind of information online, it's not so easy to interact with people there. This is an opportunity to hear directly from and ask questions of people in person, who are living that experience.

When you were starting your path on this and learning about cohousing, what would have made the learning process easier?

For me, Internet research is not for something like this. Moving into cohousing is such a big personal decision -- about where you want to spend your time and energy for a significant period of your life -- that the Internet just doesn't cut it. It's too dry.

And so, I think, some of my best information came from visiting some of the local cohousing communities. For example, Solterra used to be the site of a monthly vegetarian potluck that brought together lots of vegetarians from all over the Triangle. And there were some Solterra community members who came to that potluck. So we got to see their community space, the property and the houses, and we got to know some of the folks living in Solterra. And that really just made us more intrigued and made us think, you know, [cohousing] is something that we want to do eventually, we want to learn more. It was a very casual way to get to know about cohousing.

The Roundtable will be a little less casual, of course, but it will also provide an opportunity to have more of a real-life interaction with people who live in cohousing communities.

What do you hope people who attend will leave with? What do you hope they will know that they did not know before?

I hope that people leave with a broader sense of what living in community might be, and what is really the potential of that. And then also, what will the potential challenges be so we can, all of us, if we walk that path, enter it more intentionally and be prepared to really make the most of it.

To register for this free virtual event, please enter your contact information on the Roundtable webpage.

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Soul Sisters: Cohousing in comfort in a unique Vanier home | Ottawa Citizen A terrific article on four women who pooled their resources to create th


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