Community size Re: Report on Survey of Cohousing Communities 2011. Justreleased. A must read!
From: Wayne Tyson (landrestcox.net)
Date: Sat, 24 Sep 2011 20:34:01 -0700 (PDT)
CoHo:

I'd like to hear more about optimal community size and the effects of larger and smaller (than optimal) group function. References/links to case histories and even "studies" also will be welcome, though I value less formal responses more.

WT

----- Original Message ----- From: "bonnie Fergusson" <fergyb2 [at] yahoo.com>
To: "Cohousing-L" <cohousing-l [at] cohousing.org>
Sent: Saturday, September 24, 2011 6:35 PM
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Report on Survey of Cohousing Communities 2011. Justreleased. A must read!



In my experience, both in Cohousing and out of it (Quaker meeting, political affinity groups) people often get frustrated with how much time it takes to reach consensus compared to the more familiar majority vote. But the quality of the solution is almost always superior in the consensus process. Also hearing what everyone thinks and feels about an issue may be time consuming but it contributes to knowing each other really well which is better for the community. I doubt very much that "requiring less personal investment from each member in the decision making process" is an appropriate goal for a Cohousing community. Usually we are reaching for more personal investment in the process. When people don't engage is when trouble insues. Trusting our committees (which usually include the folk who feel passionately about those issues) to make all the smaller less controversial decisions in their area of expertise helps some. The longer we live together, the better we know each other, the easier it is to trust our committees to make good decisions. The big stuff still needs to come to the community as a whole for final approval. I do think size matters in this context however. I suspect as the number of households rises so too the frustration with the amount of time it takes to reach consensus must rise. I notice that the average size of Cohousing communities is 35 households. We might have more trouble sticking with consensus decision making if our average size were 70 or 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] gmail.com> 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.


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