RE: Businesses within cohousing communities
From: Rob Sandelin (Exchange) (
Date: Tue, 8 Oct 1996 11:05:38 -0500
> > how many have plans to have a fairly major enterprise that helps
> sustain/grow the community, like some intentional communities do? =20
> Cohousing as a model for intentional community does not work well for 

> doing this. Because cohousing is typically based on home ownership in 

> large capital projects involving high costs and large mortgages, the=20
> ability to do sustainable business is severely constrained. From what 
> have been able to determine, the average cohousing mortgage costs 
> per month, so raising that across thirty units would require a 
> profit of $27,000 a month. It gets a little steep.
> One of the unspoken premises around cohousing is that there is no=20
> income sharing, everyone must fend economically for themselves. A=20
> couple of groups have a group mortgage but even these require=20
> individual incomes and assets that are held separately.
> It is possible for individuals within a cohousing group to run a=20
> business out of their home, but these are independent operations 
> at most may share a facility now and then such as a office room in 
> commonhouse.  You could have a nice shared office facility in a=20
> commonhouse (eco-village at Ithaca had such plans once) but this is 
> supporting independently run personal business' not a collective=20
> business.
> Because of the high costs involved with cohousing I do not see it=20
> likely having a sustainable business as a community endeavor. The=20
> commitment required to run a community, based around a community=20
> business or community economic system is MUCH higher than most=20
> cohousers I have talked with would ever consider. The reason many 
> are attracted to cohousing as a community form is that it does not=20
> require such whole life commitment, at least once you are up and=20
> running.
> Rob Sandelin
> Northwest Intentional Communities Association
> Sharingwood

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