Re: Terminology to use regarding Cohousing
From: Juniperjojo (
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 2005 04:26:39 -0800 (PST)

Where I live (Great Oak Cohousing in Ann Arbor, Michigan), cohousing is a 
known quantity.   There is an existing community (Sunward) which has been in 
existence for at least five years; we have been moved in for over a year; and a 
third community (Touchstone) is under way.   Therefore, when we were marketing 
our project (to banks and to prospective members), we felt comfortable using 
cohousing terms.   Because of the success of Sunward, we had no real issues 
it came to financing.   However, when I talk about where I live with people 
from other cities, where cohousing is not as familiar a term, I refer to our 
Common House as a clubhouse, and our community as a condo association.   I then 
explain how we are different, like that there are meals offered five nights a 
week for anyone who is interested, and that we have regular meetings, and are 
expected to participate in the work program (cooking, cleaning, gardening, 
mowing, etc.), while at the same time making sure to explain that we each have 
our own kitchen, our own yard, and the expectation of privacy, just like any 
condo development.

It sounds as if you might have better luck in your area using more-familiar, 
less-scary condo development terms, at least until people in have a better 
understanding of what cohousing is/isn't.   It might be useful for you to find 
out how Roberts Creek Cohousing marketed itself, since you are both in the 
Vancouver area.   You also may want to share statistics on cohousing with your 
bankers, so that they understand that cohousing is neither a new fad, nor a 
real estate venture.

Good luck.

Jenny Cook
Great Oak Cohousing
Ann Arbor, Michigan

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