Re: Launching June 15:
From: Ann Zabaldo (
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2016 07:32:33 -0700 (PDT)
Well Phillip … in some ways you are making my point.  Condominiums are 
ubiquitous because they are profitable in the housing industry.  If they 
weren’t they wouldn’t be built.

Of course, cohousing has a major social component.  But as the name implies it 
is also HOUSING and as such we are subject to all the issues facing housing 
anywhere.  AND because cohousing has been a mostly grass roots movement we have 
trod a different path of early on inclusion of residents in the planning and 
execution of the project.  I could make the case that this different path has 
inhibited the growth of cohousing.  

And I can make an even stronger case that while inhibiting fast growth we have 
created a more robust and resilient end user community.  

So cohousing is this lovely hybrid model out here in the housing industry.  
Housing with a conscious.  What to do with it?  How to make it grow?

There are other housing movements that have advocates via organizations:  
affordable housing, co-ops, land trusts, etc.  The difference there is that 
most of these have an ongoing income stream generally from municipalities 
(co-ops may be an exception as they are more like condos in the marketplace but 
they do have an advocacy organization or two!)

So I still say until more developers and others can earn a living from 
cohousing we will remain in this slow, very slow growth phase.

Who does it benefit for us to remain in this state?

Best --

Ann Zabaldo
Takoma Village Cohousing
Washington, DC
Principal, Cohousing Collaborative, LLC
Falls Church, VA

My password is the last 5 digits of Pi …

> On Jun 17, 2016, at 7:54 AM, R Philip Dowds <rpdowds [at]> wrote:
> Maybe there is an informative analogy between cohousing and the general 
> typology of which it is a subset: condominium associations (or HOAs, as they 
> are known in some states).
> For sure, there are many professionals and disciplines that seek to earn, and 
> do earn, a living from condominiums:  Real estate developers, architects 
> specializing in multi-family design, property managers, attorneys, 
> accountants and reserve planning specialists, and so on.  Some of these 
> professionals are focused uniquely on condos, others are active more broadly 
> in the residential or real estate market.  In any event, there is money to be 
> made, and there are professional associations with budgets, staff and annual 
> conventions supporting the various disciplines.
> But … is there a national condominium movement?  That is, an organized body 
> of advocates and practitioners who believe that condominiums are the right 
> way to live, and that (most) everyone should be living in condominiums?  Is 
> there a national condominium association promoting condo life, and trying to 
> draw people in, proselytizing the concept like a church or conservation 
> group?  If there is, it is unknown to me.
> So: I don’t think there is any such thing as a national condominium movement. 
>  Nor do I think there is much money to attract by promoting condos as a great 
> idea generally.  I think there are some reasons why this might be true — and 
> I think some of these reasons are applicable to cohousing.  For those of us 
> who do believe that cohousing is a great idea … are we the vanguard of a 
> movement?  Or, are we trying to share a gift?  How we answer this question 
> will influence how we conceptualize our financial model.
> Thanks,
> Philip Dowds
> Cornerstone Village Cohousing
> Cambridge, MA
>> On Jun 16, 2016, at 10:46 PM, Ann Zabaldo <zabaldo [at]> wrote:
>>> On Jun 16, 2016, at 10:21 PM, Tiffany Lee Brown <magdalen23 [at]> 
>>> wrote:
>>> Why not make it so the same platform/with a differently branded app could 
>>> be used for developers to start for-profit housing arrangements?
>> Why would a developer or a group of developers do this unless they knew they 
>> could make a profit?  What we lack is research and reliable industry figures 
>> that current professionals are willing to share so as to draw other 
>> professionals into the biz.  
>>> The rationale in this case is to get venture capitalists and/or developers 
>>> to put up the money to develop tools the rest of us need! I've spent most 
>>> of my life in nonprofit, community projects. It does not behoove us to 
>>> underpay our visionaries and workers, or to expect everything to be done on 
>>> a volunteer basis --  this is still how I do many things, but I think it 
>>> lends itself to burnout and limits community leadership and engagement to 
>>> people who can afford to work for free. Not everyone has that luxury.
>> I agree that we overwork our volunteers to death.   If cohousing is to grow, 
>> it needs to provide people with an income so they can work in a field they 
>> love full time and not “hobby” time.  
>> However, I still don’t see developers putting up the money to develop tools 
>> “the rest of use will use.”   First of all … who are “the rest of us?”  The 
>> volunteer folks?  The folks that will  work to create one cohousinig 
>> community they will live in but not another one?  How does that further the 
>> movement beyond what is happening right now?   If cohousing is to really, 
>> seriously take off … it needs a professional group of people who earn a 
>> living at this.  Development is too big to do part time or with just 
>> volunteers.   (And God Bless all the zillions of volunteers and volunteer 
>> hours by paid professionals who have gotten us this far in the movement.  
>> You are Awesome!)
>>> Tiffany
>>> Sent from the far shores of a distant land
>> Best --
>> Ann Zabaldo
>> Takoma Village Cohousing
>> Washington, DC
>> Principal, Cohousing Collaborative, LLC
>> Falls Church, VA
>> 202.546.4654
>> My password is the last 5 digits of Pi …
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