From: Chris ScottHanson (
Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2006 14:27:15 -0700 (PDT)

You said "I do wish we'd made better decisions when we built our cohousing." I sure hear you, and I want to quote you...

When I am hired to make a project happen by a group of cohousers, they always (and understandably) listen to my recommendations selectively. In principal, I try to work for the seven generations of residents that come after these first pioneers, but (also, understandably I guess) some pioneers are much more interested in looking out for themselves, first. And of course, some pioneers just don't believe me.

The more info I can provide, the more effective my education process, the more powerful the stories I can tell, and the more real it all seems to them, the more successful I am at helping clients get what they really say the want up front. This is of course instead of what they, in the end, agree to by committee through a long and arduous process of sequential decisions.

JP Cohousing was for me the first great success at getting a project through to completion, while keeping cost down (not as low as some had hoped, but MUCH lower then many predicted). This allowed members to move in at below market rates, effectively moving in with equity in the homes, and values higher than their purchase prices.

Fundamentally, at JP Cohousing they did three very important things:
        1) they agreed to NO customizations, at all, ever
2) they agreed to and did successfully stay off the job site during construction
        3) they were allowed to make NO changes after the start of construction

In hindsight, we could have created a more affordable project. In my opinion, the architects played on the "we need more light" fanatics (who now need more air conditioning) designing an open, single loaded exterior corridor plan, instead of a more efficient double loaded corridor plan that would have saved a lot more land, at lot more energy, and a whole lot more money.

As it is, the project is wonderful. But I still look at it and see what could have been.

Chris ScottHanson
NOTE:  new contact information for Cohousing Resources

Cohousing Resources LLC
Ecovillages, Cohousing & Sustainable Communities
Development and Consulting for a Sustainable Future
   based on the Natural Power of Community

PO Box 1288
Langley, WA 98260

(360) 321-7850 new office
(206) 260-2800 eFAX1

(617) 894-7661 Boston cell
(617) 344-8563 eFAX2

On Jul 12, 2006, at 4:45 PM, juniperjojo [at] wrote:

I do wish we'd made better decisions when we built our cohousing; I wish we'd spent more on some things and less on others, and I hope you and other builder/developers can help future cohousers make better decisions in the future.

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