Re: Cohousing Developers
From: Craig Ragland (
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2008 11:28:21 -0700 (PDT)
Coho/US has the Cohousing Website's Professional Directory, here:

As Coho/US improves the value of this section, I expect it will become a
more definitive list, at least for those companies that value the exposure
we can provide - the directory currently includes 12 Cohousing
Professionals, all of who have actual cohousing experience and are
interested in more cohousing business. More listings are coming - I am
actually waiting for the content from a 13th company.

At this point, many Cohousing Professioals that have done some cohousing
work do not know this directory even exists. Why? (1) they are not active
Cohousing Web Browsers, (2) they have not seen periodic mentions on Coho-L -
or elsewhere - and most importantly, (3) because Coho/US has only reached
out to the "long-hanging fruit" - the companies we know from their
connections on a National level. In other words, we've done no active
outreach whatsoever to the relatively large number of small, local companies
that have worked on just one or two of the 113 cohousing communities in the

I'm not actively seeking more business for Coho/US. I'm hoping that our
staff's "professional time" is more focused on doing a better job for the
professionals with whom we are already in relationship. I believe an
important way to serve the movement is helping Forming Groups that want
professional support and professionals getting together in more effective

I've engaged personally with principles and staff at all four of the
companies Kristen lists. Some, I speak with often.

Interestingly, this morning I spoke with another company in our directory
that is doing cohousing development. We discussed the very real problem that
so few people involved in Forming Cohousing Groups understand much of what
value or services the various types of Cohousing Professionals can actually
offer - and at what points it is productive for Forming Groups to engage
with each type of professional.

This lack of preparedness results in a lot of wasted time for both
parties... some professionals are routinely contacted by very early stage
groups who cannot use their services until farther along. Some professionals
welcome this and others do not. Unfortunately, they don't always do a great
job of communicating that to their prospective clients. Similarly, some
Forming Groups don't contact Cohousing Professionals until it is too late
for them to be the most value... really, you simply shouldn't do site design
after you have designed the buildings!

My vision is that the Association grows into doing a better job at helping
with this connection - and I think you'll see the website evolve in this

And now, to get a little abstract...

I believe that a key reason that Cohousing is such a vibrant, successful
segment of the broader communities movement is that the Cohousing model
assumes some professional involvement - not necessarily as Housing
Developers, but for at least some of the required services. This is in
striking contrast to the do-it-yourself (ALONE) ethic that is sometimes
found in more Utopian or Back-to-the-Earth Intentional Communities. I find
the "pure" ideals of hands-on, natural building interesting - and have even
had my own hands deep "into cob," on community visits. However, I do not
envision do-it-yourself as a viable approach to meeting the growing housing
needs of the billions of people we continue to (pro)create all over the


On Wed, Aug 13, 2008 at 10:27 AM, Kristen Simmons
<simmonskristen [at]>wrote:

> Larry,
> Good point!
> Also, there my list is not definitive. I hope that others will respond and
> add anyone who is missing.
> I have also found that there are some housing developers who might be
> interested in partnering with a cohousing group, especially in this down
> economy. I believe that this is how Wonderland Hill Development got started
> doing cohousing.
> Kristen
> _________________________________________________________________
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Craig Ragland

Coho/US executive director
craig [at]

Please try email first, include your phone number (w/time zone) - or give me
a call: 425-487-3550 (Pacific)... communicate!

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