Re: Coho without work expectations?
From: Philip Dowds (
Date: Mon, 2 Jul 2018 14:38:05 -0700 (PDT)
Owners of cohousing are in the same boat as owners of mainstream housing.  
Regular and repetitive yard work and housecleaning are vital to the condition 
of the property.  The three universal choices are …
Do it yourself.  (Can use up a lot of “free time”.)
Pay somebody else to do it.  (Can cost a lot of money.)  Or,
Watch things go funky.  (Can impact quality of life, community morale, and 
resale value.)
Balancing among these three alternatives can get tricky in cohousing.  For 
instance, when you pay someone else, the burden is spread “equally” or at least 
according to the dues formula.  But when some volunteer heavily while others 
are unavailable, inequality may eventually promote a lot of repressed (or not 
so repressed) resentment.

Not explaining the cohousing lifeway to the last wave of buyers may have been 
an omission with durable consequences.

Philip Dowds
Cornerstone Village Cohousing
Cambridge, MA

mobile: 617.460.4549
email:   rpdowds [at]

> On Jul 2, 2018, at 5:17 PM, Joyce Cheney <jcheneyjc [at]> wrote:
> I'm a newcomer here, so these are stories I have heard, not lived thru.
> No work requirement - or expectation - came about for two reasons: when
> construction was over and the group was moving in several years ago, the
> group had to sell the remaining slots to whoever would buy in order to stay
> financially afloat, so the whole co-housing thing was understandably
> downplayed in favor of mortgages. Secondly, the founders were idealistic
> and believed that "everyone would simply want to pitch in" and "it would
> all work out." Now, most - definitely not all - residents would prefer that
> newcomers be involved in community activities and projects, including
> participating on committees and with work, but there is no expectation or
> requirement. A hope of participation held by most, but that is not the same
> as an expectation. jc
> On Mon, Jul 2, 2018 at 3:06 PM, Ann Zabaldo <zabaldo [at]> 
> wrote:
>> Hello Joyce!
>> Takoma Village in Washington DC falls into the expectation of work w/out
>> enforcement.  So I don’t believe we will be of any use to you in re: the
>> question you posed.
>> What community are you with?
>> And, can you tell us a little more about your community’s decision to have
>> no work requirement?
>> Best --
>> Ann Zabaldo
>> Takoma Village Cohousing
>> Washington, DC
>> Principal, Cohousing Collaborative, LLC
>> Falls Church, VA
>> 202.546.4654
>> As long as you have two or fewer … your ducks are always in a row.  The
>> Covert Comic
>>> On Jul 2, 2018, at 4:58 PM, Joyce Cheney <jcheneyjc [at]> wrote:
>>> Does anyone live in - or know of - a cohousing community that does not
>> have
>>> a work expectation? Yes, some don't have work requirements, or have work
>>> requirements or expectations that are not enforced, but is there a
>>> community out there - besides ours - that does not have a work
>> expectation
>>> for residents?
>>> If so, I'd appreciate communicating with someone from that community re/
>>> how that came to be and how that is working out.
>>> Thanks,
>>> Joyce Cheney
>>> jcheneyjc [at]
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