Question: We are 3 months into starting a co-housing community in western MA. We will soon be discussing how we will make group decisions. I don't think we have to reinvent the wheel on this one. Consensus and sociocracy seem to be common strategies. Which do you recommend?
Sociocracy and consensus are not opposite things. Sociocracy is based on consensus decision-making.
Harvard and AARP say senior housing is the next big American crisis, according to a new report. A good time to pull out the 2012 pro-cohousing report from Governing, the online news magazine of state and local governments, "Senior Cohousing May be the Next Real-Estate Trend." Katie McCamant suggests “This is one I would put in a bank financing package and/or give to appraisers.”
"... Switzerland's Pumpipumpe is trying to bring a little of that back -- forward? -- into the information age. Rather than developing a mobile app that assists sharing of goods between neighbors, they've gone old-school with stickers that people can apply to their mailboxes to let others know what they have to lend.
How often have you experienced a response of, “oh, I’m not ready to live in a commune,” when sharing your cohousing life. Communes, eco-villages and the like are of course excellent models of community and sustainability; however, our culture honors private ownership and control of resources. With this prejudice, our cohousing model, which highlights privacy in the mix of community, and most often involves private home ownership, allows us to “crack the nut” of resistance to intentional community.
When I took on the role of Executive Director of Coho/US in April, I was ready to partner with the board in tackling our ambitious goals set over the winter. With almost 5 months on the job, on this Labor Day, I thought it time to provide a summary “how are we doing?”
An initial priority was stabilizing the organization’s revenue stream, and that translates to encouraging giving by our cohousers. I hope that as you read our goals and progress, you will be inspired to give.
Coho/US goals and progress include:
Attached is the July 2014 update of my Green Tax Incentive Compendium which includes incentives for projects. Feel free to forward it to any of your colleagues in Cohousing Association of the US or other people you know working in green building or renewable energy that might find it useful. Let me know if you have any questions. Please also note my new contact info below.
Enjoy your Labor Day weekend and the rest of the summer!
Laura Fitch and Doug Henderson-James are a great pairing as Co-Chairs of the National Cohousing Conference (May 2015). Laura, a principal with Kraus Fitch Architects, crafted our "next generation theme." Doug is founder and project manager of Durham Central Park Cohousing, providing local leadership and urban self-development experience.
Coho/US welcomes two new members joining the Board of Directors. Peter Lazar is a resident of Shadowlake Village Cohousing in Blacksburg, and a founder of Sheeflee Cohousing in Charlottesville. An award-winning technology entrepreneur, Peter has been involved in the Web since its inception. Diana Sullivan is a founder of Germantown Commons/New American Villages in Nashville, which she formed after returning from the 2010 Cohousing Conference. A commercial real estate broker, with experience in non-profit community leadership, Diana wants to create more cohousing in Tennessee and support our efforts to expand cohousing nationally.
"It is a strategy I think a community could use to jump start their program, and then talk about how to reduce the centralization after a year or more of successful meals. Since we have quite slowly added new households it is quite clear that our successful meals program is what has helped get more people involved in it."