These are select responses to Susan Adams (Jubilee Cohousing, Floyd, VA) query on Cohousing-L: What percentage of your anticipated membership did you have before you began to build your homes?
How many buy-ins does it take to build? There is no universal number. It depends on how you are proceeding, so others can respond regarding up-front building, and work with developers. Just for contrast, RoseWind Cohousing in Port Townsend WA was what's called a "lot-development" model. Buy-in cost (20+ years ago it was about $36K) went in about equal thirds to land purchase, infrastructure we were required to install (to convert pasture land into City roads, parking, drainage, sewer, water, power, etc.), and our common house.
As a professional consultant in group dynamics I rarely get asked to work with a group when everything is going fine. Usually they're leaking oil, have a busted leaf spring, or can't seem to shift into third gear—and are hoping for inexpensive repairs from me, the itinerant shade tree mechanic.
First of all, it can be awkward admitting (to a stranger, no less!) that your group has troubles that it's not able to navigate on its own. For most of us that's a humbling admission.
R. Philip Dowds, Cornerstone Cohousing (Cambridget MA)
R. Philip Dowds is commenting on the Atlantic Magazine article: Dorms for Grownups: A Solution for Lonely Millennials? In a new model of living, residents will have their own “microunits” built around a shared living space for cooking, eating and hanging out.
The single family home, and the condominium within a professionally managed building, remain our two primary models for residential accommodation. Of late, there is considerable — although not yet widely accepted — experimentation in variations that involve less privatized amenity and more shared common facility. In the eldercare sub-market, retirement housing, assisted living and congregate care have advanced in sophistication; the floor plan shown in the Atlantic article might be dorm-like for the youthful, but would be understood as a variant of congregate care if serving seniors.
Katie McCamant, Nevada City Cohousing (Nevada City, California)
Reposted from Katie's Insights via CoHousing Solutions
Living in community, we have an opportunity to create a culture of appreciation, or not. This doesn't happen casually. I consider myself a typical cohouser, in that, if you ask me, I'm guaranteed to have an opinion. But sometimes we don't need more opinions, we just need people to appreciate our efforts. In my community, Nevada City Cohousing, we found ourselves overwhelmed with too many opinions after move-in, ten years ago. Everyone wanted a say on everything. We had to consciously tell ourselves "assume best intent," rather than questioning why someone or some committee did this or that.
Charles Durrett, McCamant & Durrett Architects | The Cohousing Company
Cohousing in Denmark was catapulted into success with the collaboration of the very capable architect Jan Gudmand Hoyer and the architectural firm Vandkunsten. Their idea was inspired by the article titled "Children Should Have One Hundred Parents," by Bodil Graae. Using a village model they created a cohousing community that invited its residents to live autonomously but together -- making the thesis of the article a reality. When the community was completed, a multitude of visitors walked into that village and said to themselves, "Now I could live here. I'm going to go home and make one of these in my town."
One of my favorite pastimes is to build fairy houses in the woods with my friend Ally. We design and build houses out of materials we find in the woods- like pine cones and bark. We’ve become rather skilled at it and have been working on a mini cohousing village called Redwood Village. It is complete with a common house and several other structures. Ally and I have been improving this particular fairy village for nearly a year, and when there is nice weather, we go out and work on it. Last weekend, we got a surprise.
When aging alone and assessing places to live, the first thought an individual has, “How can I create an environment where I’m safe, independent, and not isolated?” That’s usually followed by, “And can I afford it:”
It’s a collective thought that’s heard in the elder orphans Facebook group designed for people like me, over sixty and growing older without a spouse, partner, or grown children. It’s quite a predicament that close to 30 percent of the 60 and over population face in U.S. metros.
Jerry Koch-Gonzalez, Pioneer Valley Cohousing & Sociocracy Consulting Group
The use of sociocracy as the governance system and form of decision making in communities is growing. In the last few weeks I have talked to members of Champlain Valley Cohousing, Ten Stones Cohousing and East Village Cohousing in Vermont, Belfast Cohousing in Maine, Cambridge Cohousing in Massachusetts all of whom use some or most of the elements of sociocracy.
I’m back from Star Island off the coast of New Hampshire – a week long intentional community of 300 - where I took a workshop on “global compassion.” I’m personally motivated to help create a society of caring, that puts compassion into action, that can reach across the globe to reduce human suffering, address food and water shortages, heal divides, alleviate climate change – and create joy!