Re: Report on Survey of Cohousing Communities 2011. Just released. A must read!
From: bonnie Fergusson (
Date: Sat, 24 Sep 2011 17:04:26 -0700 (PDT)
     People are often frustrated by consensus decision making because it takes 
so much longer than the voting processes we are used to but the ultimate 
decision tends to be better and the process of listening to everyone's thoughts 
and feelings about things tends to increase peoples sense of knowing each other 
really well which works out better for the community in the long run. I'm not 
sure "less personal investment from each member in the decision making process" 
is a desirable goal in a community of people living together.  Leaving smaller 
less controversial decisions up to the appropriate committees (which usually 
include the folk most passionately interested in those issues) is one way we 
cope. The longer we live together, the better we know each other, the easier it 
is to trust the judgement of our committees in their areas of expertise. Big 
issues are always brought to the wider Community for final approval though.
     I do think size matters in this context however.  I'm guessing as the 
community size increases, the dissatisfaction with the time required to reach 
consensus would also increase. I notice that the average Cohousing Community is 
35 households.  I'm guessing we might have more trouble sticking with consensus 
decision making if the average size were 65 or even worse 100 households.
                                Bonnie Fergusson
                                Swans Market Cohousing (20 households)
                                Oakland, CA
Sent from my iPad

On Sep 24, 2011, at 10:44 AM, Dane Laverty <danelaverty [at]> wrote:

> This is a wonderful read. I'm about halfway through it right now, and I'm
> surprised to learn that 0% of the communities make decisions by simple
> majority vote. I'm new to the cohousing concept and have no direct
> experience with any cohousing community, but it sounds like the
> consensus-based decision making process is the cause of a lot of frustration
> in communities. While I understand that a simple majority approach might
> result in less satisfaction with any given decision, I wonder if that would
> be balanced out by requiring less personal investment from each member in
> the decision making process.
> On Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 10:51 AM, Neil Planchon CPCC <neil [at] 
>> Greetings all
>> Report on Survey of Cohousing Communities 2011: Created
>> collaboratively by Cohousers all over the country. Yay! A herculean
>> effort of great value which will help us better understand who we are
>> and which will complement the McCamant and Durrett Cohousing books for
>> many years to come.
>> Blog entry:
>> Direct to survey (13 pages PDF):
>> McCamant and Durrett Cohousing Books:
>> Cohousing Association or the United States:
>> Simply outstanding.
>> Thank you so much Diane, David, Lisa, Laura, the Cohousing Association
>> and all the volunteers!
>> May you be well...
>> Neil Planchon CPCC
>> Certified Life and Business Coach, Website Design and Technology
>> Solutions -
>> Founding Resident and Webmaster - Swan's Market Cohousing - Oakland CA
>> -
>> 'Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed citizens
>> to change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.'
>> Margaret Mead
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