In the process of bringing cohousing into being, the biggest investment of time, energy, money and stress will go into the physical structures themselves.
While most communities start with land and add buildings, others adapt existing buildings either by major renovation and retro-fit or by making smaller adjustments to existing housing. Most communities will depend upon early members making significant investments of time and money, all of which is at risk in the early stages. It is exciting, creative and community building, even as it creates some of the biggest challenges a community will ever face. If all goes well, the rewards are tremendous.
this page is focused on the buildings, it bears mention that the process of designing and building a community collaboratively depends heavily on the ability of community members to communicate, appreciate one another and address conflict productively. The relationship work will impact the design and construction process. See the “Building Relationships” section of this website. [link]
For most communities the building process happens in three phases: Land, Design, and Build with the task of Finance happening concurrently, especially with the design phase. Each of these phases is also a significant benchmark in the growth of the community. There is a lot of variation of how these pieces go depending on local ordinances, group preferences and many other variables. There is also much to be learned from those who have gone before. This collective wisdom is contained on the pages linked below beginning with an overview of the process and timeline and moving on to the various phases.