Finding and choosing a site
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Mon, 30 Jan 95 10:02 CST
Seems to me there are many issues to finding and choosing a site.  One 
issue which came up in a discussion with Chris Hansen, A cohousing 
developer, is that often groups make poor site choices based on 
criteria which is changeable.

One  common site choice criteria is the financial abilities of the 
group.  One mistake that is made here is that groups may choose a poor 
site because that is all the core group could afford.  Then what 
happens is no one joins them because it is such a poor site and they 
end up either going belly up, or holding onto empty units, have a high 
turnover, etc.  Another approach might be to identify through the 
market place of your locality what the cost of a good site is, and then 
wait and build up enough of the financial core group until you can 
afford a good site.  Keep in mind that location is next to cost in its 
importance to home buying and when you strip away the cohousing stuff, 
what you are doing is developing real estate and selling it.  If you 
have a unattractive product, less people will want to buy it.  Locating 
a site next to an obvious unchangeable unattractive feature such as a 
freeway, a dump, etc. might not be a good choice for attracting 
members.  Some unattractive features are changeable, such as high 
crime,  poor care of the area, etc.  In some of these cases a cohousing 
site, may initially be unattractive but can add tremendous energy and 
value to changing the area by organizing and working with residents of 
the existing area.

Another common situation which arises is that a group finds a site 
which works for some or most of the members but not all the members and 
since not everyone agrees to the site, they give it up.  Rather than 
give up on a good site it might be better for a group to split up into 
two groups, those who want to live with the original site develop it 
and attract new members and those who don't form their own core group 
and find another site.  One advantage to this is that the two groups 
have a common shared history which can offer all sorts of wonderful 
opportunities for sharing resources and information later.

Rob Sandelin
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