Re: Membership selection
From: Nitsan Vardi (
Date: Sun, 24 Nov 1996 08:31:35 -0600
Try not to!

Saettedammen, established in 1972, has neither criteria nor procedures for
membership selection; It is, however, a good place to live - for the
founders who stayed - and for the younger families who joined later;

We own our houses - plus the 1/27th of the common house - formally in the
same way half of the population in denmark does. Once one ownes a house,
one is a member. Formally, only owner's association membership is
compulsory. Participation in social activities - and expenses - is
voluntary. I am not arguing for the ownership model  -  only that an
enthusiastic, engaged core group can attract enough suitable members AND
maintain a well functioning community without resorting to formal,
stringent selection procedures.

There IS a filter though: because we have an attractive - for the right
persons - community, house prices are slightly higher than the average
price in this neighbourhood. This forces new members to weigh the
advantages of cohousing, and secures engagement and enthusiasm, or at
least a will to participate.

I admit - this method does introduce a social bias. This is probably not
as severe in Denmark as it will be in other countries, but it does
exclude true low-income families. And we have some
young, single members who RENT a part of a house - an arrangement which
helps reduce the effective cost of living for both parts. My family, in a
similar arrangement, shares the house with a single woman, not as owner
and tennant but through a co-ownership agreement. I still believe that
cohousing membership is biased by so many other factors, that the economic
side is only a small part of the whole problem (education, political
observance and ethnic tradition playing an important role, of course ). 

So, maybe you should try to go ahead with the members you have - and see
whether you can create a good community even though the population
distribution does not quite follow what you NOW believe to be ideal.

                                                ___ __
Nitsan Vardi                                  \   \   \ \   \   \/  \  \
Saettedammen, Denmark                              \   \ \   \  _\    __\
e-mail: eminv [at]                                 \

> At 12:18 AM 11/16/96 -0600, MartyR707 [at] wrote:
> >I am curious if any of the built communities out there ever experienced a
> >situation something like this before you were built:
> >
> >*You have only a few units not spoken for
> >*You feel there are not enough children or young families in the community
> >*You have people interested in joining the community  or being associate
> >members or on a waiting list that do not fit this profile.
> >
> >How were such people handled?  Or any ideas on how you might handle such a
> >situation?
> >
> >Marty Roberts
> >Jewell Hill, Sebastopol, CA
> >
> >

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