Workshop Purpose: To explore the potential and realities of community life today. How can intentional communities help us appreciate near-term implications of citizen-centric government, volunteerism, and multi-stakeholder collaborative partnerships?
Susan Turnbull, from the General Services Administration (GSA), opened the meeting by welcoming everyone to the continuing collaboration workshop series. The purpose of today's workshop is to explore the potential and realities of community life today. How can intentional communities help us appreciate near-term implications of citizen-centric government, volunteerism, and multi-stakeholder collaborative partnerships?
Susan remarked that the workshops started almost one year ago. With participants wondering whether a strong sense of purpose was sufficient to hold different people together while learning from one another to increase the creativity quotient and momentum for significant action. With the first product of the workshops – "Extending Digital Dividends: Public Goods and Services that Work for All", being debuted today on the West and East Coasts, the idea has begun a successful work in progress. The guide is being debuted at the California State University Northridge International Conference on People with Disabilities and at the FOSE conference at the Washington Convention Center in both hard copy and Digital Talking Book format. In addition a hard copy of the guide was distributed during the workshop. Also being exhibited at FOSE is an EPA pilot, led by Brand Niemann, that reflects the principles identified in the guide: XML, Voice Application Networks and Networked Improvement Communities are key enterprise tools for achieving Citizen-Centric Government. See February 19,workshop notes for Brand's presentation.
Also, please note this April 3,2002 addendum as the workshop notes are released: On March 20, this pilot – Natural Language Interface to Web Content received top honors for Innovation by the Quad Council at FOSE. The Quad Council is composed of the Chief Information Officers Council, Chief Financial Officers Council, Human Resources Council, and Procurement Executives Council. See the following URLs for details: http://www.gcn.com/vol1_no1/daily-updates/18224-1.html and www.xml.gov
This recognition can also be seen as validation of our efforts to serve as an oasis/launch pad for innovative leaders in government like Brand Niemann. Congratulations, Brand!
Susan introduced Dr. Guzman of George Washington University, School of Medicine, who will be coordinating and presenting at next month's workshops on Multi-channel Delivery of Health Information. She also introduced Dr. Tom Lewis and Janina Sajka who will be participating in next month's session.
Susan remarked that Tom Lofft, an Architect with the Cohousing network, would be speaking today and that the principles behind Cohousing are important to consider as we move into collaborative space. Susan also pointed out an article that was in the March 17 Sunday Washington Post on "It's time to be Citizens not Spectators". It outlines the goals of the Administration's new USA Freedom Corps Initiative including "fining a role for the feds in the creation of human happiness, and helping Americans live what the ancient philosophers called "the good life". The initiative is led by John Bridgeland. More information is available at: http://www.usafreedomcorps.gov/
Susan thanked Tony Stanco, Cyberspace Policy Institute, George Washington University, for being instrumental in arranging and locating speakers to come to the workshop sessions and talk about open source. She also introduced Lisa Nyman and Rachael LaPorte Taylor of the Census Bureau, who would be presenting in the afternoon on their work in open source. Susan distributed the GSA/OIS Newsletter, entitled, XML Applications in Government, Issue 11. Use the following link to view the neewsletter: OIS Newsletter, Issue 11: XML Applications in Government
Introduction to the new collaborative tool of our UA Expedition community – Presented by Bob Andrew, ICF Consulting
Bob Andrew introduced his colleague Dennis Crow, and led the discussion on the introduction of the new collaborative tool, "Quickplace". He briefly went over the procedures on how to join the Collaboration Expedition workshop community on-line, hoping that this new tool will replace the current listserv. The joining process essentially consists of typing your username, the organization that you belong to, and a valid email address so that the community will be able to send you information. Mr. Andrew briefly went over some of the highlights of Quickplace, which consisted of "rooms" housing our archived agendas, notes and presentations from past workshops. Quickplace also consists of an area with our mission statement. All are encouraged to join the community and post resources that you feel would be of interest to the group. You can easily change your password at any time, once you have joined.
Our new collaborative space is at http://ioa-qpnet-co.gsa.gov/ua-exp (apologies for the non-intuitive address). We're also piloting an XML-based collaborative tool that will mirror the quickplace site. It is located at http://people.internet2.edu/~ghb/coexp.
Q: Why are you apologizing for the non-intuitive address?
A: The Agency's CIO needs to approve the usage of .gov. We can apply to use the address UniversalAccess.gov or whatever term we find most useful.
Q: Is there a distribution list of known good browsers for this site, because not all browsers work well with Quickplace?
A: Internet Explorer and Netscape 4.7.
Karl Hebenstreit (GSA) is working with other agencies on improving the overall usability of collaboration tools. He will be leaving today to present at the west coast conference (CSUN) where Janina Sajka will be introducing our guide in Digital Talking Book format. Karl recommended three books. These are resources for the paper he will be presenting at CSUN.
· Design Wise, A Guide for Evaluating the Interface Design of Information Resources, Alison J. Head, April 1999.
· Bootstrapping, Douglas Englebart, Co Evolution and the Origins of Personal Computing, Theirry Bardini, November 2000.
· Online Communities, Designing Usability Supporting Sociability, Jenny Preece, September 2000.
Cohousing Communities in the USA: A Community Building Ethic For Well-being – Tom Lofft, Cohousing Network
NOTE: Historical and supplemental information on Cohousing can be accessed at http://www.cohousing.org/
Susan introduced Tom Lofft, a member of the Cohousing Network. Tom explained that Cohousing is a concept that originated in the 1960s, in Denmark. The concept was created because groups of people were feeling estranged and isolated from their neighbors. No one in the United States was familiar with the Cohousing concept until two architects, Kathryn McCamant and Charles Durrett from California went to Denmark. Both McCamant and Durett spent six months living in a Denmark Cohousing community. Once they left the Denmark community they took the idea back to California and collaborated on a book, entitled, Cohousing, a Contemporary Approach to Cohousing Ourselves, 1988. Since publication of the book and introduction of the concept in California, the Cohousing communities are becoming more prevalent in the US. Currently, there are over 120 communities in at least the first stage of development and over 50 other communities that are fully occupied.
Tom spoke about Cohousing Network's 501.C3non-profit organization status. This group is completely a dues-funded organization, in which participation is not mandatory. It is comprised of like-minded people. During this part of the discussion Tom showed slides of various Cohousing communities.
Tom explained that the main focus of Cohousing is not a drive for the highest profitability. Rather it is driven by the sense of community. One of the first slides consisted of a Cohousing community with small children playing and neighbors smiling at one another. Cohousing enables you to truly get to know your neighbors. In addition, you also have participation and input in planning and designing your community and making it an environment where children can play safely.
There are four primary characteristics of Cohousing:
·The future residents participate in the planning and development. This collaboration helps to establish an effective method for the new community to work together.
·Common facilities. This as a place where the community can eat together, where neighbors take turns cooking for each other. The community building is also a place where a daycare facility and children's playroom are housed. Additionally, the community house is where workshops and community meetings are usually held.
·The physical design of the community encourages opportunities for interaction between neighbors. Parking for cars is on the periphery of the neighborhood, thereby eliminating the conflict between playing children and cars. This differs from the typical way homes are built in the United States, where people drive right into their homes and into garages.
Cohousing residents often cluster their homes together and preserve the wooded areas around their neighborhoods. Houses are built with their fronts facing in, so that parents are able to see their children playing in the children's play area. Typically the overall sizes of the homes are smaller, including the kitchens. Approximately 15% of a family's housing resources are placed into establishing the shared facilities.
The first Cohousing community was established in Davis, California, called Muir Commons, named after environmentalist John Muir. The second community was established in Emeryville, CA. The community turned a warehouse into twelve condominium homes. McCamant and Durrett live here. The third Cohousing community was established in Bainbridge Island, Washington. The design of this community was done without an outside developer. This community has a blanket mortgage, however, individuals are able to get their equity interest if they decide to sell.
Tom showed a slide of a Cohousing community that was built near Boulder, CO, which consisted of 42 units set on 43 acres of land. These homes were colorfully constructed with a stunning view of the Rocky Mountains. The slides of this community, showed their community house and how they utilize bulletin boards as a means of keeping people informed. Tom showed slides of another Cohousing community that was built in Southside Park, CA. This community was built by working with the City's Re-development Agency. It preserved Victorian style homes. Tom referred to an idea that came from a book by John Naisbitt and Patricia Aburdene, (Mega Trends 2000: New Directions for Tomorrow, January 1991) which stated that in the future there would be "more high touch instead of high tech". The path of Cohousing follows the classic path for new grassroots growth and ideas- starting in the West, moving to the East, and bouncing back to the Mid-West. Cohousing in America came from a pair of architects in CA and it caught on and is slowly spreading eastward.
Tom introduced a video taken from NBC's Dateline coverage on Cohousing. The video began by showing a two-income family that was residing in Denver CO. It described how they would come home after a hard day's work and lock themselves into "cocoons", away from their neighbors and the community. This family traded their suburban home in for a Cohousing community in Harmony Village, located at the foot of the Rockies in Golden, Colorado. This is a community where people do laundry together, prepare meals together and share garden chores. This community is not a commune and they do not share a common ideology. But
Cohousing communities do subscribe to an unwritten rule, that neighbors help each other
They do this by sharing childcare resources. In addition, families are required to take turns cooking for each other in the common house. Meals are shared once or twice a week. Although this way of living allows more opportunities for interaction with your neighbors, it is not a requirement. The typical cost for a unit in a Cohousing community can range between $97,000-$300,000. The video also discussed some of the disadvantages of living in a Cohousing community:
· Long community meetings discussing various topics. Unanimous decisions are difficult.
Giving up individual control of the home design.
· A positive note is that most of the Cohousing neighborhoods have a waiting list of families who are waiting to move in.
Tom asked the question, "What does universal access mean?" He told the story of a ninety-six year old resident who lives in a Cohousing community. The particular community in which she resides has six homes that were designed for wheel chair access. Tom also mentioned that in Liberty Village, a Cohousing community being established in Libertytown, MD, a deaf child will be moving into the community. Over 50% of the neighbors are currently taking sign language so that they will be able to communicate with the child.
Tom discussed that there were no rules, only agreements, in Cohousing and that most communities are built on consensus. This is one of the reasons why a Cohousing community works more effectively if it is kept to about 20-40 homes. In a larger community contact with all neighbors is more difficult. Tom described a Cohousing community in Atlanta GA, where two 30 family communities combined and built side- by -side. These two communities came together and built one common house that is shared by the 60 homes. These two Cohousing communities are succeeding by learning to share and work together.
Tom wrapped up his presentation by talking about a community with which he has had a lot of contact with, called Liberty Village, located in Libertytown MD. He introduced a videotape, "Dream Builders", on Liberty Village. This community was started in 1989. The design and the layout of Liberty Village was developed and picked out by the people who planned on living in the community. The community is built on 23 acres with the home sites only taking up 7 acres of the land. Parking spaces are located away from the homes so that neighbors can interact with each other while preventing all traffic near the children playing in the neighborhood. The establishment of a Cohousing community takes time and communities take time to develop as well. The creation of Liberty Village took a total of eleven years before it was fully developed. However, during this time one of the most important aspects of Cohousing was allowed to mature- the relationships among the members of the community. "Cohousing is the most time-consuming and expensive self-improvement project…." Tom emphasized the idea that Cohousing is a grassroots concept. He shared that putting an ad in the classifieds of a local newspaper started Liberty Village. In conclusion, Tom discussed four additional characteristics of Cohousing:
1. Finding a site, which is the biggest problem in establishing a Cohousing community.
2. The design has to fit and encourage the sense of community. The people in the community want to be a part of this process as well as give input.
3. In the budget, money must be set aside for community facilities (at least 15% should be allocated).
4. Resident management not Home Owner Association's. Areas are well taken care of because every resident has bought into the concept. The children learn from seeing this participatory environment modeled by their parents.
Q: Facilities for seniors in Cohousing?
A: The communities are very nurturing. Liberty Village has a ninety-six year old resident and she receives as much support as she wants.
Q: Do you think a community could include resident health services?
A: Not aware of a community where health services for aging residents was the primary ethic. the community. However a childcare ethic has been common and he could envision a healthcare ethic as well. Tom discussed how he worked for Meridian Healthcare and how universal physical access is built into most community designs. He also described how communities often have individuals who are social workers, therapists and nurses.
Q: I live in a Townhouse community with about forty homes. After all of the homes were built the builder decided to stay on and live. The community is located about one mile away from the Pentagon and the builder suggested that the community get together and get a shuttle bus. He also suggested that the whole community get together and hire a contractor to paint the homes. Most interactions and social contact is done while neighbors walk their dogs. I am not sure if I want to know all of my neighbors. What is the percentage of people who would be interested in a community such as this? And what about resale?
A: Resale. Most communities have a waiting list, are not sold on the open market, and the communities are intended to grow with the individual so the community often has different styles of homes as families typically need larger and then smaller homes. The homes are built side- by- side and are energy- efficient and user- friendly.
Q: Garages are a good thing. I like driving into them especially in bad weather (rain or snow). I agree with the fact that we need to bring back family, which includes looking after your own, both seniors and children will benefit from each other.
A: Not everyone is buying into Cohousing. A community in Colorado has attached and detached units with garages.
Q: Spending time together, does it help with the stress, illness and divorce rates?
A: Cannot tell you. Perhaps a social worker will look into this. Please check out the website http://www.cohousing.org/, you will find interesting information on this site (e.g. cooking for sixty people).
Q: I have a friend living in Bainbridge – impression of how "White" the community is. How to enrich diversity?
A: How can one enrich these communities is a common concern. Can be done in existing sites. Sacramento has a racially diverse community. User- friendliness and full disclosure is important.
Q: Are there intentional communities of color?
A: Sacramento is the most diverse. They took an established neighborhood that was already very diverse. Recommend focus on common facilities concurrent with or before private homes.
Adding Up the Common Elements of Successful Communities: What are the Dimensions in the Physical World and in the Cyber World that Matter? Dialogue led by Bob Andrew, ICF Consulting
Susan introduced Bob Andrews of ICF consulting. Bob began the discussion by talking about how he could remember back in 1948 his community in New Zealnad had a swimming pool without lifeguards. The swimming pool was run solely by parents with children. Parents would use the facility and the last parent to leave would send all the children home and then lock up the pool area.
Bob then moved to discussing the step process of entering our new Cyber Community space using a "floorplan" analogy. Bob referred to a handout that was a visual depiction of our Collaborative Expedition space online. The floorplan currently consists of eleven rooms, with the Gathering Place (Common Room) being placed in the center. The Common Room includes membership self-profiles, calendar, tutorial, and "What's New" Every Week. Every room can be accessed from the Common Room except Planning for Next Workshop room and the Technical Support room. Access to these rooms requires joining as a member. The other rooms are:
2. Voice &XML
3. Reference Library
5. Digital Divide
6. Assistive Technology
7. Open Source
8. Extra room that needs an owner
Bob noted that individuals must sign in if they would like to make a post a comment or share a web resource. He also suggested that people take time to browse through each room. Through browsing the rooms, one might find that some documents are available in more than one room. Each room will need an owner, someone who will be responsible for housekeeping a particular room.
Nick Guzman agreed to be the host of Planning for Next Workshop room. He will use the room to help organize the April 16 workshop.
Susan would like to see a place where people could RSVP that they will be attending the next workshop.
Karl Hebenstreit explained how participants could set up a list of the rooms that will contain the information of most interest to them. Subsequently, they could receive weekly notification of items that have been added in the past week to their favorite rooms.
Q: Does each room have a structure or format?
A: This can very. We can start with the structure provided by the materials already published and branch out from there.
If you would like to suggest how to construct a room, make a suggestion in the Developers room. Describe how the room should look and technical staff will assist you.
Q: Are their any bandwidth storage requirements?
A: Anything up to 10 gigabytes is acceptable
Q: Are there conventions for uploading documents, e.g., RTF?
A: It works well with Microsoft Office products.
Q: Does it have a group Rolodex? Can we invite other individuals to join the group?
A: Any member can invite an individual through Quickplace.
Karl Hebenstreit demonstrated how to use the Bookshelf link on Quickplace to locate reference materials. Susan pointed out the Message Board, which is very useful for posting items of interest to the group. In preparation for a recent meeting, she posted relevant URLs here that greatly assisted a small group meeting for the first time and looking for a quick way to get up to speed on each other's projects and organizational websites.
Susan thanked everyone for coming to today's workshop and invited participants to return for the April 16, 2002 workshop.
Workshop Attendees and Comments:
Name and Organization
Susan Turnbull – GSA
Senior Program Advisor
Appreciated the generosity of the group – assistance requested at last mtg. Was received. The guide is available in Digital Talking Book format now.
Mark Westerman – Westcam, Inc.
Interested in Digital Divide
John Huth – John J. Barcklow Foundation
Karl Hebenstreit – GSA
Systems and Accessibility Specialist
Involved with access issues and the Telework project. Supporting the Quickspace effort for the workshop.
Tom Lofft – The Cohousing Network
Mark Frautschi –
Likes to see groups making connections. Knowledge Management encourages linkages between two or more groups.
Tony Stanco – George Washington University, Cyberspace Policy Institute
Senior Policy Analyst
Very interested in open source software issues.
Nick Guzman – George Washington University, School of Medicine
Exploring new and simple ways to deliver health information to minorities and Hispanic populations.
Bob Andrew – ICF Consulting
Led today's dialogue on Quickplace
William E. Smith – ODII
Interested in addressing and resolving large complex problems.
Lowell Christy – Chairman, City of Mind
Sr. Systems Analyst/GAITS
Developer of open source
NIH clinical care and Research
Interested in better ways of delivering health care to diverse groups and the role of open source
St. Albans (Faculty)
Speaker in the afternoon
Lisa Xantus – EDS
Principal Consultant, E-Government Community of Practice