Re: Southern Maine proposal
From: Michael Barrett (
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2008 08:48:03 -0800 (PST)
Francoise Paradis <feparadis48 [at]> / feparadis [at]

I'd like to introduce myself and share my experience.  I have been
thinking about doing a development on my land in southern Maine for
several years . . . .I had been reading about eco-villages and cohousing.
This summer . . . . .  the vision crystalized in my mind.
 . .  .  Mind you, I do not have a group of investors or residents.  . .
. . . . .  The community building starts with the design team and
builders, not just the residents.

While Francoise's letter is closer to the thread about developer relations,
and her (I believe) aims sound admirable, I have a concern for her, and any
nascent community, where the property has one owner with (implied) personal
financial resources. In my experience 90% of cohousing community bonding is
a consequence of the trial by fire of the founder members as they struggle
together (with or without vigorous internal dissent) to agree on their goals
and to overcome the hurdles of finance, local resident opposition and local
government caution or reluctance. With only one property owner (at least
initially) and without future residents having their own money at risk, it
would seem too easy for the owner to have an unintended but possibly
corrosive weight in all decisions and too easy for the potential residents
to either "walk" when disagreements occur, or if staying, to treat the
community as any standard as-if-developed-for-profit cluster of homes.

I believe there are communities where the majority of the ultimate owners
did not participate in the early struggles - Eastern Village comes to mind -
though the developer(s) there already had very significant cohousing

Michael Barrett - who has lived in two communities, one as a investor (and
close to founder) member, and his present one as a johnny-come-lately.
Shadowlake Village,
Blacksburg, VA

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