So much of our focus lately has been on getting ready to break ground and for construction to begin. Getting our homes and common house built is definitely important but there is so much more to cohousing. People already living in cohousing tell us they find the relationships built in cohousing to be far more important than the structures. After all, everyone had a roof over their head before coming to cohousing. It’s the desire for connection that propels most people to join a cohousing community.
Cohousing is built to create connections. Everything about the physical design at Heartwood Commons supports making connections easier. Having walkways arranged to connect our homes, garages, common spaces and other destinations within the community increases the chance we will interact with our neighbors and friends on a daily basis. Someone will notice if we haven’t retrieved our mail in the common house or made our daily visit to the garden or dog park. Large front porches make impromptu visits with neighbors convenient.
So how are we building connections now, before we move in, and during this pandemic?
We are still managing to make connections in a big way. Our experience during the pandemic has been that our virtual business meetings allow everyone – introvert and extrovert - to speak up and participate in a meaningful way. Our on-line coffee klatches and happy hours give everyone the chance to socialize and get to know one another better.
We’ve even managed to meet in small groups, wearing masks and physically distancing, for several fun gatherings on the land that have included impromptu and planned picnics, fireworks watching, a bike ride, land tours, and celebrations.
For November, we plan to gather at a local park for a sit and chat. In December, we plan to visit the Tulsa Botanical Garden where we will practice COVID precautions while enjoying one another’s company and their beautiful holiday display.
To help us build resiliency as a community, we’ve enlisted Karen Gimnig, a widely respected consultant in the cohousing world, to help us connect deeper and build our communication skills.
All of these activities are intentionally planned to continue the important groundwork of community building that will help us weather this pandemic and be ready to fully launch our community when construction is completed.