Re: Cohousing failures
From: Stuart Staniford-Chen (
Date: Sat, 5 Feb 2000 17:15:18 -0700 (MST)

Rob Sandelin wrote:
> There has not been any site development failure of a cohousing project that
> I know of. Once the site development works starts, the groups have all come
> through. I assume the issues the town has is extending utilities, roads, and
> the costs of those being dropped if the group organization disbands or goes
> bankrupt.

Marsh Commons, here in Arcata, CA, came quite close to failing because
diesel was found in the soil when the foundations were being dug leading
to a stop-work order and involvement of state and local authorities. 
Nonetheless the group did finish the project (through heroic efforts in
getting the soil remediated).

I would guess cohousing projects are fairly unlikely to fail once the
group is financially committed.  Whereas a developer may be willing to
go bankrupt (or allow the development corporation to go bankrupt) if the
project runs into trouble, a group of individual people are likely to
move heaven and earth rather than allow the project to fail and watch
all their money and dreams go down the drain.  Cohousers are often
awkward, hornery SOBs, but they typically have tremendous guts and


(Will be a Marsh Commons resident in a few months).

Stuart Staniford-Chen --- President --- Silicon Defense
                   stuart [at]
(707) 822-4588                     (707) 826-7571 (FAX)

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