re: early years
From: Joani Blank (
Date: Fri, 27 Oct 1995 04:48:02 -0500
Still-No-Name Berkeley Cohousing moved into an existing site (common house
plus 10 units, four more to be built soon plus some of the existing to be
renovated. They are recruiting 4 new households to complete their community.

There were seven households in the Doyle St. Community who had been in the
group at least one and a half years before move-in. I joined 3 months before
and one new family joined during the move in period of about 3 months. And
this was a site-driven development. Site became available and group gathered
around it by the CoHousing Company.

The Old Oakland Group has 6 full member and 3 associate member households.
We hope to have 19-20 units in our project which is VERY urban. In spite of
that three of our full member households have 5 kids between them, and we
have another single mom hot prospect. We are also site-specific. But it
seems that we are probably getting cohesive enough to look for another site
if the one we almost have falls through. We are all now eager to live in
this specific downtown neighborhood. 

Your experience, Philadelphia, is not uncommon in CoHousing in N. America.
Several groups have collapsed in exhaustion after finding, then losing one,
two or more sites. Others have found their numbers dwindling or the group
splitting when a site is found that doesn't suit some part of the group.
Involving developers who can secure sites and get early planning approvals
and financing and THEN assembling the core group of future residents is
probably the wave of the near future for cohousing--at least until the
movement is a little farther along. "Build it; they will come," is probably
true for cohousing, but since we have this pesky habit of being heavily
involved in the planning and design, I'd like to suggest that a more apt
slogan for us is "Secure an appropriate site; they will come."

Joani Blank

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