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Top 5 lessons learned living in a village: A psychologist’s view

Posts: 19
Location: Madison, WI
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I was inspired after reading Paul's posts about the Ant Village to share my own thoughts that come from living in a co-housing community in WI for the past 7 years. As a psychologist, I'm interested in combining "social technology" with permaculture to evolve a culture of thriving on one planet's worth of resources. Community is a critical for this. I'm looking forward to engaging more with the material here to iterate these lessons. For now, though, my top 5 criteria for a functional village, in order of importance are:

(1) Without interaction between people, there is no village: (a) Allocate time for relationships. (b) Live in physical structure that encourages interaction and get the right balance between public and private space.

(2) Invite those who can (a) skillfully hear and express their truth even when there is unpleasant emotion and (b) are willing to continually improve at this. Best way to know: you’ve had disagreements and come out the other side.

(3) Be free! Learn from failure and communicate instead of creating too many rules.

(4) Small is beautiful. Empower the smallest decision-making group possible for the decision at hand.

(5) Welcome people, build goodwill, and be clear about a coherent vision and process.

To keep it short, I'll leave it there. But, if you do want to read details about each of these 5 points with links to discussions of other social technologies, you can read more here.
Posts: 137
Location: Coastal temperate deciduous forest (Boston) - zone 6b - 44" rain/year
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Yes, it's the people! Learning to work and decide and even disagree together is the crying need of our time.

Posts: 310
Location: Onalaska, Lewis County, WA
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Loved your article, Donal. #1 is surprising to me, but after living in community of various forms for 10+ years, it's a GREAT reminder. Easy to forget in these busy times.
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Appreciate this concise but important list.
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