Re: Concerning Consensus and established CoHo communities
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2005 10:51:01 -0800 (PST)

On Mar 11, 2005, at 1:27 PM, Saille Warner Norton wrote:

I need to be able to refute his assertions with actual
data. He doesn't seem to have any. I suspect his assumptions are coming from non-CoHo organizations, and I don't think that they necessarily apply to a
CoHo situation. (Do any of you?)

The short answer is that cohousing communities use consensus as their decision-making criterion. I can't call consensus a process because it isn't a process any more than majority vote is a process.

Majority vote is a decision-making criterion that is also dependent on parliamentary procedure. They go hand in hand.

Consensus has no such associated governance structure or rules of procedure.

But cohousing groups do use consensus none-the-less and do get through it. But what happens in our community and other communities (I believe) is that decisions are avoided and more and more made by small groups or individuals with no discussion by the large group. Everyone learns to look the other way and some people just withdraw from the process. Decisions are less often announced so no one knows about it until it is carried out. Things just happen.

But in spite of that, major issues like the annual budget, capital improvements, rental policies, etc. are made by consensus. And I don't think anyone would want to change that even though it is sometimes tedious.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.