Deepening the Co-housing Conversation in Peterborough

Group experiments with new approach to gathering

A Peterborough group that has been carrying the flame for a local co-housing project experienced something brand-new at their latest gathering.

Rather than spend two hours learning about co-housing from someone at the front of the room, they went through a process of connecting quickly and deeply with one another around their intentions and dreams for themselves, their community and co-housing.

“Exciting and rich” is how local co-housing expert, Scott Donovan, describes the experience.

Scott and local facilitators Deb Reynolds and Aukje Byker designed the gathering with much of what they’ve learned and experienced through the Peterborough Dialogues in mind. For example, the “expert” presentation was limited to a small portion of the time, while the rest of the gathering walked people through ways to discover and express their intentions and dreams as a community.

A site plan drawing Scott completed for a property in Peterborough the group has been considering as a candidate for a co-housing setting. Click the image to view a larger version.

A site plan drawing Scott completed for a property in Peterborough the group has been considering as a candidate for a co-housing setting. Click the image to view a larger version.

“It was astounding, the richness that Deb and Aukje brought to (the design of the gathering),” Scott says.

“They not only understood the toolkit, but the depth and meaning behind it. It was really moving for me just to be with them and watch the process be created.”

Scott found himself pushing his own boundaries as he presented a brief piece introducing the ideas of author and community-building thought leader Peter Block and relating those to co-housing.

As much as co-housing is about the buildings, Scott says, he had the sudden “a-ha” that it is just as much about the personal transformation Peter Block centres on in his book The Answer to How is Yes.

“I just put that out there right at the beginning, that we are here tonight and we are doing this work because of personal transformation. That was pretty exciting for me in that it was my learning edge,” Scott says.

The co-housing event is one more example of how communities are shifting how they gather, both here in Peterborough and in other places.

“What really came out of that last gathering was the richness of what we have learned through the Peterborough Dialogues and how it was such a perfect fit for what we’re doing,” Scott says. “We expressed our gratitude at the meeting because it really made a difference.”

The co-housing group will be hosting summer conversations at a local café for anyone curious to learn more about co-housing for Peterborough. These conversations are informal and intended to focus on the questions and interests participants bring to the table. Contact Scott at scott.peterborough(at)gmail.com to learn the dates and times.

The Peterborough Dialogues are hosting a Summer 2016 Core Conversation beginning June 23rd. Click here to learn more and to register.

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