RE: Breakdown of Process in Cohousing
From: Eileen McCourt (
Date: Wed, 1 Jan 2003 19:14:01 -0700 (MST)
I have experienced being the lightening rod in my cohousing group. We
are ready to break ground, but still need 3 more member households to
take with us to the bank.  Of course, it has taken at least a year
longer, and maybe two years longer for some folks, than anyone
anticipated at the outset of the project.  And we seem constantly to be
in the balance between the marketing and membership objectives and the
development objectives.  One or the other is always just a little bit
ahead of the game which in turn contributes to the delays.  

During the initial design phase, I often felt that I was single-handedly
managing to the schedule.  Of course that was not true, but it
frequently felt that way.  The thing that changed it for me was when I
accepted that I could not control the timing of everything. So if we
loose some time because of dilly dallying with common house design
issues? It was simply not going to work to try to force things through
before the groundwork had been done with enough thoroughness to result
in a consensus on moving forward.  

But it took no small amount of conflict and outside facilitation to move
us in that direction.  I was in the thick of most of the conflict, I
think.  What was really important was a process committee that worked
actively with the conflict (though not as directly as I would have
liked).  We began devoting more time during meetings to activities that
helped us to reveal ourselves to each other.  We had 3 or 4 sessions led
by outside facilitators at different points where our process was
getting bogged down by an inability to reach consensus.  In general,
we've had an intensive weekend about once a quarter for the past two
years.  We have a consultant that works regularly with the process
committee to address what is going on with the group in a variety of
ways, from articulating our vision, to having more fun.

This is a very organic process, creating a community.  Keep the faith.  


Eileen McCourt
Oak Creek Commons Cohousing
Paso Robles, CA

DocArtemis wrote

 I've heard about the phenomenon of the "lightning rod" member in some
cohousing literature.  Tag... I'm it.

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