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Shared spaces & how things get done

Any kind of endeavour in a way needs a structure: a sense of the duties, rights, responsibilities, and limitations necessary to sustain it happily and healthily (hopefully backed up by sound, inclusive, and flexible reasoning). We might be talking of a country, community, workplace or, in this case, of housing arrangements.

As there’s this shift towards collective ways of living (whether that’s subdivided properties, developments, or more intentional communities with shared facilities), questions arise around the realities that’s creating and how best to manage them (see Notes One). And, anecdotally, this often seems problematic: standards or conventions around use of space and consideration for others vary, as does the sense of how people might get involved in maintaining things, making changes, or resolving issues.

It seems many exist in quiet resentment at having to live in such proximity, irritated at freedoms being limited by their impact on others, and tending to tune these ‘annoyances’ out. Maybe that’s because we’re increasingly independent rather than community-minded; or because life’s stressful and having that impinge on the home environment is the final straw; or maybe we’re losing the sense of regulating our actions out of concern for others (Note Two).

And then market ‘provision’ doesn’t always align with our ideals: many developments seem to create unusual situations where space is lacking or overlooked and even greater consideration than ‘normal’ is needed to coexist happily; regulating how people operate within these places is another challenge; as is how well they ‘sit’ within the surrounding area.

There’s also the issue of what we contractually agree to (aware as we may or may not be of the details) alongside our intention to actually abide by the spirit of our commitment. Which is all quite complex. We may see contracts as merely stepping stones to what we want, rather than something to honour and uphold. We may view any limitations on our freedom out of social consideration for others as antiquated or unenforceable.

All of this may be true, and – as with almost any situation – the factors at play and how best to navigate them seems unlikely to lead to a simple solution, let alone one that can be realised without the willing involvement of everyone concerned.

You might have the wisest contract conceivable managing a well-designed property, but if those within it aren’t interested in bringing it to life you’ll likely end up with conflict or disappointment. Conversely, an engaged and motivated group of people could probably bring blissful harmony wherever they happened to find themselves.

Which in a way comes down to communication and intention: ideally we’d have great systems to understand and operate within, but practically we often live within imperfect systems and need to find ways to rework them as best we can.

But then, does it matter if we live together out of mutual understanding and consideration rather than resentment? It must have considerable social impact, but unless we rediscover the value of such cooperation all this may prove difficult to resolve.

Notes and References:

Note 1: Living together
Note 1: Real estate, rental and human nature
Note 1: Nature tells a story, about society
Note 2: Laws and lawlessness
Note 3: Need to stand alone & think for ourselves
Note 3: People wanting change

Money as a pivot of matter & intention also addressed this idea of systems and how best we engage with them.

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