on 20 October 2011
One of the great problems of Environmentalists,Alternative types and sustainability gurus are that they are often the greatest individualists and independent thinkers. This can make them unsuitable for establishing working communities which have to cope with simple everyday concerns.
Almost by definition anyone who is able to look at their society and understand the insanity of the world is not a group thinker. Starting a community with hyper individualists who are natural contrarians is a lot like herding rabbits. Impossible in an open space but somewhat possible if there are some boundaries to channel their hyper activity.
This is what the book is about. It discusses some of the ground rules and strategies successful communities use. It also discusses why intentional communities fail (90%!!! of them) and why others succeed.
It fills in enough detail that gives you a sense of the extreme frustration of the breakups. Not exactly "war of the roses" but you get a hint of the anguish.
Often it is the discussion of specific rules that really shows the wisdom of the groups that survived. Something as simple as how to deal with pets. For a community to survive there needs to be a strong framework in place to deal with pets.i.e How many pets an overall community is the relevant figure rather than the individual needs.I.e how do people get sleep if the dogs are barking or how do you have a nature reserve if there is a pack of cats and dogs in the community.
Similarly work load, finances, external pressures etc have all to be worked around. Who owns what, what happens if the community breaks up or people want to leave are all discussed. The delightful dictatorship of the founders, the difficulty of conflicting personalities and diverging dreams all add spice to the book.
For a very practical book, I found myself laughing quite a bit. Almost dare I say it, the book almost has the puerile appeal of a reality TV programme
on 9 February 2012
Amazing book, diana really knows what it take to set up a community and all the pitfalls...for those who are starting on this exciting journey this book is a MUST have..I`m sure her looking for a community book also is GREAT but i dont need that. This takes examples of several communities and looks at who/how why they were established..VERY important to get your mission statement and WHO you are..explores why some failed[only 10% communities succeed!!!] pitfalls, mistakes.....communication.....cant reccommend it enough.
on 29 April 2005
Before aspiring community builders hold their first meeting, confront their first realtor, or drive their first nail, they must buy this essential book: it will improve their chances for success immensely, and will certainly save them money, time, and heartbreak. In her friendly but firm (and occasionally funny) way, Diana Christian proffers an astonishing wealth of practical information and sensible, field-tested advice.
on 10 November 2011
"Creating a Life Together" by Diana Leafe Christian will be so useful to the our newly-formed group, suggesting what we should do and (even more important) what to avoid when setting up a community/Co-Housing etc.
Written primarily about American ventures, this is nonetheless well worth a careful read and could serve as a reference-book in the UK.