Vision

Suvana Cohousing project vision statement

This is as agreed up to 16 October 2018.

We would like to live together ethically in a sustainable community of independence, beauty and creativity, caring for each other and sharing our lives and resources. Our community will be guided by Buddhist values. We plan to be open to anyone who shares the principles laid out in this vision statement, whether labelling themselves Buddhist or not.

Value-based Community

Our vision is to build a long-term community where we can live together, raise our children and grow old in a secure and supportive environment.

We want to create a community that is inspired by and embodies Buddhist values, based on loving-kindness, generosity, simplicity, truthful communication and mindfulness.

By caring for one another everyone has the opportunity to grow and learn together in friendship. This includes interest in each other’s welfare and wellbeing through the running of the project.

We aspire to non-harm, including animals, so all food prepared in the communal areas will be vegetarian. Vegan choices will be available for all community meals.

Our community values include neighbourhood ideals of: belonging, community, connection, diversity, trust, collectivity and sustainability.

Wider Neighbourhood

We would like our community to be a force for good. For example, building a community that goes beyond ‘me’, and so that the community will continue after our death or departure.

We aspire to contribute positively to the local and wider community. In time we would like our community to develop into a model that other cohousing projects could benefit from.

Location

The location of our community will be within quick and easy access of Cambridge city centre and the Cambridge Buddhist centre.

We want good public transport links and connections to cycle routes.

We would prefer the location to be near a park or the countryside, ideally away from traffic noise and pollution.

Community Activities

We will balance participation in the community with individual needs, and welcome the opportunities for engagement, fun and enjoyment that community life brings.

We are keen to promote community by creating opportunities for community activities.

We would like those community members leading a Buddhist life to be supported by meditating and sharing our practice together.

Our community will be run jointly, with everybody having a voice in the community. Our decisions will be made by consensus. A conflict resolution process will be developed and followed. We agree that it’s important to explore ways of learning how to live together with friendliness, mutual supportiveness, and inclusivity.

We will create opportunities to celebrate our lives together and to have fun!

People

We would like our community to be made up of people who respect and support each other, developing a sense of ease with life difficulties through not feeling alone.

We would like a diverse community including a wide range of ages, backgrounds and circumstances. A key aim of our community would be to build strong friendships and get to know a variety of people of different ages and backgrounds.

We aim to support all family structures (including children and pets) within the community.

Photograph by Tejasiddhi

Accommodation

We would like to have a mix of 10-40 independent, self-contained homes with individual front doors providing privacy within a community setting.

We would like to have a range of property to let within the community. Priority would be given to people without the capital to purchase their own home because they have made a long-term commitment to the Triratna movement.

We would like flexible and adaptable homes that support the changing needs of individuals and families at different stages of life to reduce the need to move when life circumstances change.

We envisage a range of shared community facilities that could include: living space; shrine room; kitchen and dining room; guest rooms; laundry; gym; art space; bike store; and workshop.

A Common House will be the centre of community activity and will provide space for eating together, games and entertainment, quiet relaxation, and for children to play safely. The Common House should be designed for daily use, to supplement private living areas.

We would want shared green open spaces, including a garden and fruit & vegetable plots.

We would prefer spaces and buildings designed to encourage social interaction and to be effective in community building with a keen sense of beauty and aesthetic. For example, one aspect of intentional neighbourhood design we would like to follow is to relegate cars to the edge of the project. This would help foster a stronger community where children can play out, adults can get together, and the group can use space productively.

Sustainability

We want our buildings to be environmentally designed, reducing household energy bills, the impact on climate change, air quality and our carbon footprint.

We would like to steward and nurture the land on which we live, its natural and human communities, and its role in the ecosystem around it. Where possible we will make space for restoration of the native ecosystem.

We will use resources wisely to care for the earth by: reducing waste; recycling; conserving energy; choosing active modes of travel (including public transport) where possible; choosing products with lower environmental impact; and simplifying our lifestyles. We would want to encourage efficient use of the world’s and our own resources, for instance growing our own organic vegetables.

We imagine that creating this community will encourage both friendship and mutual support which might include: helping each other maintain houses and grounds; sharing skills such as bike repair and gardening; sharing cars or vehicles; and sharing resources such as spare bedrooms, washing and drying machines, lawn mowers and tools.

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