RE: Levels of membership: economic burdens
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Sat, 1 Dec 2001 10:19:05 -0700 (MST)
Creating community is a great thing, real estate development is a huge
burden. Doing both at the same time is one of the most difficult and
unlikely endeavors I can think of.  Balancing the two means giving access to
non-investors, but perhaps not control. Decision making is  control. Keeping
control of the project, and building a sense of inclusiveness is the

In my travels around the cohousing circuit I often have heard of decision
making based on economic investment levels. For Cohousing, I think this
approach makes sense. Create a two tiered system, one for people who invest
deeply, a second for those that invest shallow. Decision making power should
rest with the first set, the second set open as advisors and collaborators.
I know that this is not egalitarian. But  for cohousing, which is involved
in multi-million dollar real estate development projects, I think it makes

Over ten years of  watching cohousing I have seen this scenario repeated
dozens of times: A person with little investment, and little real ability to
actually be a homeowner, insists upon a decision to accommodate their needs,
and then six months later they drop out of the group because they can't
afford it, and never really could anyway. The group is then stuck with that

Rob Sandelin
Community Works!

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