Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Village Is Better Than A Group House

Every time I mention to someone that I'm working on a cohousing project with the rationality community, they go, "Oh, like a group house?" Every. Single. Time. So this is my once-and-for-all attempt to say, "IT'S NOT A GROUP HOUSE." It's a village.

What are the important differences?

1. More private space. There's a greater separation between places that are "your space" and "my space." It's easier to get away from people who aren't your immediate family or roommates, because you have space that they are not allowed in if you so choose.

2. Non-shared ownership. Not only is your private space yours because we've verbally agreed that it's so; it's also yours legally, and you have all the protection and backing of the greater society in your claim on it.

Having boundaries that cannot be crossed allows people to feel freer to do as they choose within those boundaries.

3. Size. A group house typically will contain 4-9 adults. A village should have 20-50. What does having more people mean for the community? More social space, and more slack for the community as a whole.

  • If you have a fight with someone, it's easy to avoid them. If you find someone boring, you just don't have to talk to them. There's no need for you to be friends with everyone.
  • If you find some of your friendships in the group waning, there are lots of acquaintances around you can reconnect with in the meantime. You have a potent source of new friends, people you run into on a regular basis around your community.
  • If someone leaves, most connections stay intact, and the community identity survives. Since the community is bigger, it'll be easier for you to find someone to replace them. You don't need to solve the problem of "they get along with every single person in our 5-person house"; you just need to roll for best 5 out of 20 or more.
Ultimately, all these factors boil down to: A village is more sustainable as a long-term community. And that's why it's better.

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