Re: Cohousing Brochure Available
From: Raines Cohen (
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2014 14:18:16 -0700 (PDT)
It looks beautiful, Alice. I'll miss the old tri-fold that's served us over
the last decade, but mostly because that one featured my front porch as one
of the key images. ;-) It was nice to be able to say "I live there" and use
it as a tool to connect.

I was wondering:

(a) who was the designer/author, and what were the primary goals of the
design process? Pulling open the curtain a little bit could be helpful for
others aiming to communicate for their own communities, regions, and
related efforts, plus it would show off the work that Coho/US is doing for
all of us (have you put regular contributions in your community budgets,
everyone? hint, hint!). Is it optimized for B&W inkjet/laser printing and
second-generation photocopying?

(b) Which communities are represented on it? It would be great to have a
simple B&W low-res web version with sequential numbers over each image, and
a list of the corresponding numbered communities for each image. I
recognize several of them, but in an online post it could encourage people
to click through and explore each one, linking to each community's
directory entry from an image map, with rollover text naming the community
and the location. Optionally, when available, it would be nice to know the
photographer and year.

Here's a few of my off-the-cuff thoughts about the text and presentation:

(1) A number of communities adapted the previous tri-fold and stamped or
stickered their own community's contact info on the back fold so it could
serve as their own outreach material. It looks like that would be harder to
do with this one, simply because it has less white space. Perhaps a version
of it designed to leave a panel for a community's info, for them to add
before printing, would be helpful for that purpose. Also, if it carried a
clear Creative Commons license, communities (and their designers) would be
comfortable knowing they could adapt and re-use it with clear conditions,
i.e. maintain the Coho/US attribution and website. As it is, I don't see
any copyright notice.

(2) There are a couple of references to "Aging in Place" but not the deeper
more meaningful cohousing-connected "Aging in Community".

(3) The list of Coho/US services includes a "Cohousing Directory of
Communities". This could be another opportunity to reinforce the concept of
our scale, with instead "Directory of Cohousing Neighborhoods." Not to
mention the concept: "If you can't find one that meets your needs, we can
help you start one."

(4) In the opening paragraph, "life-enhancing community" is missing a

(5) The quote on the right-hand panel on page 2 has no attribution.

(6) There's no date or version # in the margin or the file name to track
revisions... for somebody to be able to tell at a glance whether they've
got the latest and greatest.

(7)  I wonder how useful listing our postal address is in this day and age,
and our long-established Google Voice # with volunteers handling voicemails
is not listed.

(8) It's all about the product (homes in communities) and the lifestyle
that provides, with no reference to the unique part of the process
(resident participation in the design and development) that is key to many
of the listed features. For forming groups, this may not serve them well,
lacking that open invitational aspect.

(9) I don't see any urban scenes (other than the street painting in front
of LA Ecovillage) so it may not serve urban cohousing neighborhoods well as
a recruiting tool.

(10) Under "Life Enhancing", there's a grammatical error in the body text;
"from" should be "such as" - or "and" should be "to" - it looks like this
list was edited.

(11) There's no reference to homeownership, even though 95% of cohousing
neighborhoods are primarily homeowner (condo) model and over 80% of
cohousing residents are homeowners. This can be a good thing in terms of
promoting diversity, but I have experienced in our weekly ads in the
alternative weekly many inquiries from people who can barely afford rentals
in our area, let alone homeownership, so be prepared for additional
inquiries from people most established and forming communities can't serve

(12) There's no website on the front panel, so if someone takes a picture
of the brochure without flipping it over (a behavior I've noticed on the
rise among smartphone owners who don't want to carry paper), they won't get
the referral.

Again, I love it and want to be able to use it, that's why I share about
it... because I care.

Raines Cohen, CSA, Cohousing Coach and Aging-in-Community author; Conscious
Elders Network founding member
Cohousing California regional community organizer, with over 2700 members
in East Bay Cohousing alone
  at Berkeley (CA) Cohousing, where we tried something different for common
dinner last Sunday: a field trip to the local food-truck pop-up weekly
event, at the subway stop parking lot five blocks away

On Tue, Jul 15, 2014 at 12:34 PM, Alice Alexander <alicecohous [at]>

> Coho/US has created a tri-fold brochure available for download printing.
> Visit The brochure provides an
> introduction and welcoming to cohousing. We encourage you to use as a
> recruiting tool for potential members, and an education tool for the
> general public. Let us know how you are using the brochure, and how it is
> helpful; other feedback welcome too at office [at]
> --
> Alice Alexander
> Executive Director
> <>
> [image: The Cohousing Association] <>
> _________________________________________________________________
> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:

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