Re: catch 22 - finding right site or identifying group
From: Mac Thomson (
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 2010 06:53:53 -0800 (PST)
Hi Grace,

We're certainly not urban, but the issue of balancing finding a site and 
spending money seems to be universal.  We certainly tried to minimize spending 
before we found a site, but prioritizing values is fundamental and can be done 
at no cost whatsoever.

We felt that we had to define 2 aspects of our community before we could expect 
potential members to commit:
1)  defining our community (core vision, values, other core agreements)
2)  choosing the site

People need to know what kind of community they are getting into.  That 
definition helps filter people out so that they end up matched with a community 
that will hopefully meet their needs and expectations.  Members that share the 
same vision of community often differ in where they want to live and on what 
type of site.  That's why we felt that it was also necessary to choose the site 
before asking for commitment.

Neither of these needs to cost much money.  It took us about 4 years to find a 
suitable site and during that time we thoroughly defined our community, 
recruited, and did lots of community building.  During those 4 years we spent 
about $9000, which is really just a drop in the bucket considering that once we 
started construction, we were spending $25,000 per day.

Good luck.


Mac Thomson

Heartwood Cohousing
Southwest Colorado

"If you lend someone $20, and never see that person again, it was probably 
worth it."

On Jan 13, 2010, at 4:16 AM, cohousing-l-request [at] wrote:

> Date: Tue, 12 Jan 2010 09:23:22 -0800
> From: "Grace Kim" <grace [at]>
> Subject: [C-L]_ catch 22 - finding right site or identifying group
>       values?
> To: <cohousing-l [at]>
> Message-ID:
>       <EC9094AD5E71F044834B748AD594A906856BEA@bullfrog.SchemataWorkshop.local>
> Content-Type: text/plain;     charset="us-ascii"
> We're working with a community that is in its infancy - they have 8
> families and the intent to purchase a lot to support 8-30 units.
> For the past few months we've been helping them with site selection,
> which has resulted in them realizing that their "wish list" needs to be
> prioritized to better sync price/size/expectations.  While they don't
> mind having more units (30 vs. 8), the idea of higher density (stacked
> flats and townhouses vs. sgl family home w/ land around it) with
> meaningful open/green space (i.e., useable roof community/kid space) is
> one that they can't envision in an urban setting.  We've shown them
> images of other projects but I think they really want to see a completed
> design (which would arrive from a more interactive process).
> They are working from a financially conservative position of not wanting
> to spend any money on any services (architectural or otherwise) that
> might not be applicable to their final purchase/development.  They are
> feeling like they need to find a site before they do anything else, but
> we are encouraging them to prioritize their values (to help evaluate
> whether prospective properties truly fit their needs.)  
> Does anyone have a story to share about how your community addressed
> similar concerns in the early stages of your development process?
> grace h kim aia, architect & cofounder
> schemata workshop | empowering communities through architecture
> 1720 12th ave #3  seattle wa 98122  v 206 285 1589
> <> 
> Recipient of 2009 Mayor's Small Business Award

  • (no other messages in thread)

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.