Re: Cohousing vs. HOA Communities
From: aamato (
Date: Tue, 30 Aug 2005 08:36:29 -0700 (PDT)
I just picked up these bulleted points from the website.  They are
basically how cohousing is different from a conventional HOA.  However, it would
be very interesting to see how some of these characteristics might be worked
into conventional situations....By the way there is a forming cohousing group in
central New Jersey called, I think, Garden State Cohousing.
Best of luck,
Anna Amato
Jersey Girl living in Washington, DC at Takoma Village Cohousing.

 The Main Characteristics of Cohousing                                          
    1. PARTICIPATORY PROCESS. Future residents participate in the design of the 
       community so that it meets their needs. Some cohousing communities are 
       or driven by a developer, which may actually make it easier for more 
       residents to participate. However, a well-designed, pedestrian-oriented 
       without resident participation in the planning may be 
"cohousing-inspired," but   
       it is not a cohousing community.                                         
    2. NEIGHBORHOOD DESIGN. The physical layout and orientation of the 
buildings (the    
       site plan) encourages a sense of community. For example, the private 
       are clustered on the site leaving more shared open space, the dwellings 
       face each other across a pedestrian street or courtyard, and/or cars are 
       on the periphery. The common house is often visible from the front door 
of every  
       dwelling. But more important than any of these specifics is that the 
intent is to 
       create a strong sense of community with design as one of the 
    3. COMMON FACILITIES. Common facilities are designed for daily use, are an 
       part of the community, and are always supplemental to the private 
residences. The 
       common house typically includes a common kitchen, dining area, sitting 
       children's playroom and laundry and may also have a workshop, library, 
       room, crafts room and/or one or two guest rooms. Except on very tight 
       sites, cohousing communities often have playground equipment, lawns, and 
       as well. Since the buildings are clustered, larger sites may retain 
several or    
       many acres of undeveloped shared open space.                             
    4. RESIDENT MANAGEMENT. Cohousing communities are managed by their 
       Residents also do most of the work required to maintain the property, 
       in the preparation of common meals and meet regularly to develop 
policies and do  
       problem-solving for the community.                                       
       are leadership roles, but no one person or persons who has authority 
over others. 
       Most groups start with one or two "burning souls" but as people join the 
       each person takes on one or more roles consistent with his or her 
       abilities or interests. Most cohousing groups make all of their 
decisions by      
       consensus, and although many groups have a policy for voting if 
consensus cannot  
       be reached after a number of attempts, it is very rarely or never 
necessary to    
       resort to voting.                                                        
    6. NO SHARED COMMUNITY ECONOMY. The community is not a source of income for 
       members. Occasionally, a cohousing community will pay one of its own 
members to   
       do a specific (usually time limited) task, but more typically the task 
       simply be considered to be that member's contribution to the shared      

                      Pete Holsberg                                             
                      <pjh42 [at]        To:       Cohousing-L 
<cohousing-l [at]>                                       
                      t>                       cc:                              
                                               Subject:  [C-L]_ Cohousing vs. 
HOA Communities                                          
                      08/29/2005 12:13                                          
                      Please respond to                                         

I live in a single-family house/over-55 community with a Homeowners
Association and am on a mailing list with members that are trying to do
away with the so-called evils of HOAs -- non-judicial foreclosures, lack
of accountability of the board of directors, too much control over what
people can do to the outsides of their houses and property, etc.

 From what I've been reading, a cohousing community is one that, like an
HOA community of single family houses, ownx and manages common
properties, and collects dues for that purpose.

What other ways are cohousing and HOAs alike? Different? Bulleted lists
preferable. :-)


Pete Holsberg
Columbus, NJ
Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every
person's life, freedom of religion affects every individual. State churches that
use government power to support themselves and force their views on persons of
other faiths undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of the
church tends to make the clergy unresponsive to the people and leads to
corruption within religion. Erecting the "wall of separation between church and
state," therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.

Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826), speech, 1808

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