Sometimes life is a mixed adventure of fortuitous happenstance, unfortunate mishaps and curve balls. Moving to Loveland in 2006 was, ironically, all three for my family. Moving is always a tumultuous endeavor. Life circumstances aside, we were very, very happy to move to Loveland. I’m hoping to live here for the rest of my life.
Loveland has the same laid-back, friendly atmosphere of when we first moved to Colorado from New York back in 1980. It was in Loveland that we met our dear neighbor, Rusty, who ran across the street when he heard our car wouldn’t start. He offered to give our car a jump, then drove his truck across the street. After thanking him profusely and rushing off to meet with our production client, I remember our dad, George, telling my brother and me, “That’s how neighbors used to be when I was growing up. They would have backyard barbecues and everyone was always inviting each other over. They were family. That was normal.”
For over a decade, Rusty became one of the best neighbors we’ve ever had. Little did I know that my father’s words planted an important seed in my heart, which has been beginning to sprout within the last seven months. “Is there a way to bring that old-fashioned family of neighbors back to life?” We’ve never owned our own home, but it’s always been a dream of ours. I wish our mom could enjoy the same type of community I’m blessed with thanks to my circle of geek friends. But how?
During my research, I discovered intentional communities and co-operative housing. In the 1980s, a couple of architectural college students went to Denmark. In order to get to their school they had to walk past an oddly designed neighborhood. The individual homes were built much closer together surrounding a cooperative building that was shared. Curious, they interviewed some of the residents. They learned how the buildings’ functionality and physical closeness were designed to increased the neighbors’ social interaction with each other. Bringing back to the States what they gleaned, the college students started a quiet movement which grew into a national organization and fourteen cohousing communities in Colorado.
Some of the benefits of cohousing include reduced living expenses, authentic friendships that form a mutual support network for rides, childcare/elder care and shared weekly meals. So, why aren’t there more communities? Forming and building a mutual / intentional community is very time intensive commitment and initially more expensive than a traditional home. Another reason cohousing isn’t more popular, is because a majority of Americans just don’t have the personality or temperament for this alternative group oriented lifestyle.
Speaking for myself, it’s quite an attractive possibility to create a my own neighborhood with people we know, trust and love. A community of like-minded creators, learners and doers. In the words of Mr. Rogers, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”
Question: What is cohousing or intentional community?
Answer: Here’s how to find out. Follow the “Be My Neighbor?” series: www.ValerieFlynn.com.
Question: Is there a Loveland Cohousing Club?
Answer: Not yet, wanna start one together? Check www.ILoveLoveland.org for updates, details and/or to volunteer.
Valerie Flynn is a lifelong learner who enjoys following rabbit trails wherever her curiosity leads her. She’s fond of writing, hat collecting, essential oils, hanging out with her geek friends and libraries.