Re: What SHOULD I be worried about?
From: R Philip Dowds (
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2014 09:36:01 -0700 (PDT)
Political campaigns are cruel and exhausting.  For a minority, fending off 
sound bite negatives, and getting out the vote, are exciting, fun, rewarding 
and meaningful.  Most people, however, would rather have a root canal.

Same for developing cohousing, I think.  It’s not for everyone.  But if you’re 
one of the ones whom it’s for, it can be the experience of a lifetime.

Just put on your game face.


On Jun 17, 2014, at 12:26 PM, Sharon Villines <sharon [at]> 

> Philip is of course correct but when it is all laid out like that it's a bit 
> overwhelming. In reality each one of these things will/may occur months apart 
> so you have time to adjust. Knowing they are coming is a great advantage. 
> Groups used to be surprised by each one. And now that you know them, you can 
> be prepared.
> Pin people down to cost estimates, etc., and do you own research. The web 
> gives you access to education and information like no other cohousing group 
> has had.
> And remember that this is fun and rewarding. At 14 years with a lot of 
> turnover I find my mind wandering to a crisis or new idea that would bring 
> our community together as much as that hurricane that filled the mud pits 
> that were supposed to become basements and delayed construction again. Or the 
> last minute scramble to get all our purchase contacts and down payments in by 
> 6:00 with one day's notice or the whole project would be lost. After the dust 
> settles all that binds the founders in a way that it's hard to replicate.
> R Philip Dowds wrote:
>> Plan on delay.  Plan on surprising cost increases.  Plan on flogging your 
>> way past disappointments.  Your group may have to deal one or more of …
>> internal disagreements about location, design, pricing, membership, whatever;
>> complicated local or even State permitting, waivers and variances;
>> members that come and go, and come again;
>> litigation by your neighbors;
>> nervous bankers;
>> bad cost estimates;
>> incompetent or opportunistic professional services;
>> and other problems …
>> All of which can morph your three-year, $9mln project into a five-year, 
>> $12mln project.  You can, of course, succeed.  Many groups do.  Just be 
>> realistic, flexible, and go get expert input when you need it.  And armor up.
>> R Philip Dowds AIA
>> Cornerstone Cohousing
>> Cambridge, MA
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