Wolf Creek Lodge
Quimper Village
Quimper Village
Quimper Village
Germantown Commons Cohousing
Germantown Commons Cohousing
Germantown Commons Cohousing
Germantown Commons Cohousing
Germantown Commons Cohousing
Germantown Commons Cohousing
Germantown Commons Cohousing
Germantown Commons Cohousing
Germantown Commons Cohousing
Create Cohousing

Cohousing communities are conceived by visionaries. Some are developers or landowners; most are simply people hungry for connection. No two communities are created in the same way, and as cohousing grows the variety of approaches to creating it is growing as well.

We find that successful communities engage in three interrelated processes:
  • Gathering resources: people and money
  • Building the physical structures of community: land, houses and common house
  • Building the relational structures of community: connection and group process

Cohousing communities begin with a vision, often with just one burning soul. As that vision spreads and evolves, members join and the project takes shape. Some groups follow tried-and-true process while others forge the way for new innovations. All share a passion for living more closely with neighbors and more lightly on the earth.

The steps below (which are not yet links) walk you through the general process, though it tends to be messier than this, with steps overlapping and intersecting. The Relationships, Resources and Buildings pages provide detailed information, sample documents and alternate approaches.

Step 1
Read. Visit communities. Attend conferences and tours.
Step 2
Share, draft vision and values statements.
Step 3
Communications, shared documents, resources
Step 4
Core group of three to five. Begin marketing, events, website and more.
Step 5
Learn and adopt consensus or consent process for making decisions collaboratively.
Step 6
Hire attorney(s) for LLC, securities, purchase agreement, etc.
Step 7
Secure land with option to purchase or purchase outright.
Step 8
To eight to ten (or more!) households. Increase marketing, events and investment.
Step 9
Build relationship, process and communication skills
Step 10
Hire architect and design team
Step 11
Expand to 80 to 90% of full community
Step 12
Developer and construction team, and choose members to interact with builders.
Step 13
Process and relationship skills. Continue training. Connect as a larger group.
Step 14
Secure the money you need to build your project.
Step 15
Break Ground
Break ground and build your buildings.
Step 16
Remaining units and begin wait list.
Step 17
Enjoy each other, and continue to build relationship and process skills
Step 18
Common meals, reserves, cleaning, common house use, etc.
Step 19
Move in
Step 20
and begin the next phase of community building
Communication, decision making, consensus or consent process, growing through conflict
Gathering people, money, knowledge and more, marketing and sales
Buying land, hiring design and construction professionals, building, using existing structures
Frequently Asked Questions
Professionals can be hired at any point in the process. Most professionals advise that clients get more value for money by hiring them as early as possible. Process professionals can give you the skills to engage conflict productively before there are major ruptures between your members. Project consultants can save you thousands of dollars by helping you avoid costly mistakes in everything from legal documents to design. The timing that is right for you will depend on your group’s preferences and available resources.
No. Starting with bare land has advantages, but working with existing structures can be exciting as well. Many communities have repurposed some or all of their buildings. Some groups are even exploring converting existing condo or mobile home communities by recruiting residents and purchasing units that come for sale.
A lot depends on the resources, marketing and approach of the group. Three to seven years is an average range. Communities who have readily available financial resources and hire professionals to help with process and project management tend to be completed faster. Some projects take much longer, particularly if land is hard to find or rezoning is needed.

Cohousing.org is an ever-evolving, community supported website.

If you see information that is missing or inaccurate, we welcome your suggestions.

Content on this page is curated to make the website as attractive and useful as possible. All cohousers are invited to submit articles, stories and resources which are displayed on the page appropriate for the topic.

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