Re: Community size
From: Jerry McIntire (
Date: Wed, 3 Jun 2015 09:26:40 -0700 (PDT)
Hi Roger,

I think of two central considerations regarding size. Will you have enough
money to afford a common house and other common amenities you want? This is
actually determined by the amount members are willing to spend, not by
number of members/households.

The other is group dynamics: getting the work done, having enough people at
meetings, having enough diversity and being large enough to avoid fatal

>From my studies of small group communication, I think of twelve as a
minimum number of homes which will probably mean a minimum of 18 people.
The minimum we are aiming for is twelve households, and a maximum of
eighteen due to the sizes of our market and our property.


Jerry McIntire
Stone's Throw Ecovillage, in the heart of Wisconsin's beautiful Driftless

On Tue, Jun 2, 2015 at 12:17 PM, Roger Studley <roger.studley [at]>

> Hi All --
> Nice to meet so many of you at the conference, and I'm hoping you can
> offer insight into *community size*.
> Prior to the conference, my understanding -- from reading and from
> conversations with experienced cohousers and professionals -- was that the
> sweet spot in terms of the number of households in a cohousing community
> was *low 20s to high 30s*. Smaller than low 20s and there aren't enough
> folks for a vibrant community or to get everything done (and group dynamics
> can get weird), larger than high 30s and it's hard to be a cohesive
> community.
> At the conference, however, I heard that there's some conventional wisdom
> that the magic minimum number is *14 households*.
> There's probably no bright line below which cohousing won't work, but I am
> concerned about being too small. Here in Berkeley, sites that could
> accommodate 20 units are hard to come by, and I'm wondering how we should
> be thinking about this, especially since we intend to be a
> multi-generational community. Any wisdom you have to share would be much
> appreciated: Where do the above numbers come from? What are the
> difficulties faced by smaller communities? What's most important for
> smaller communities to succeed? And *what does seem to be the minimum size
> for a well functioning community and why?*
> Thanks, and warm regards to everyone!
> ~Roger

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